Why Aren’t We All Banning the Bottle?
Four Green Steps, an informative website regarding environmental news and views, recently posted an article titled “Why Aren’t We All Banning the Bottle?” I wanted to share it with our readers as it may contains some info or stats you may not have been aware of, especially in regards to Coca-Cola.
In the year 2000, Coca-Cola began exploiting groundwater in the municipality of Kala Dera, in India. Today, the Killer Coke campaign, backed worldwide by thousands of volunteers, is currently trying to kick them out and claim that the company is responsible for many water shortages in municipalities around the country. Before Coca-Cola set up its operations in Kala Dera in 1999, water reserves were already slowly shrinking: the level fell 3.94 meters from 1999 to 2000. However, Coca-Cola has definitely worsened the problem, according to the India Resource Center. From 2000 to 2010 (the ten years after Coca-Cola’s appearance in the region) groundwater levels plummeted 25.35 meters.
In Plachimada, India, Coca-Cola was forced to shut down its plant in 2004 and is now liable for $48 million damages in water reserves depletion due to its operations in the area.
For nearly 1 billion people around the world, water scarcity is an issue. Every year, over $100 billion dollars are spent on bottled water world-wide. According to the Water Project campaign, ‘the cost of just one case of (cheap) bottled water could supply a person in Africa with clean, safe drinking water for a year’.
Bottled water is after all significantly more expensive than tap water. According to the Ban the Bottle campaign in the United States, ‘the recommended eight glasses of water a day, at U.S. tap rates equals about $.49 per year; that same amount of bottled water is about $1,400’. With all those potential savings, why are we even still purchasing bottled water?
Jim Goetz, president of the Canadian Beverage Association, argues that bottled water does not compete against tap water according to research, but rather against soft drinks, juice drinks and juices. He states that bottles are completely recyclable and that they are recycled at a rate of 70% in Canada. This figure drops to 23% in the United States.
The problem with that argument is that the costs of recycling bottles may outweigh the cost of sending them to the landfill depending on the cost of garbage disposal in the area. The optimal scenario is to not have any single use bottles to deal with. Also, while bottle companies get inspected every few years, municipal standards are much higher for public tap water and the latter usually gets tested every hour of production as well as before and after.
The good news is that towns and universities across North America have started implementing regulations to reduce the amount of bottled water being sold. 86 towns including Vancouver, Toronto and Montréal have passed resolutions to
‘ban the bottle’.
The Council of Canadians lists 5 reasons for banning the bottle:
- Bottled water leads to water shortages
- Bottled water contributes to climate change
- Our landfills cannot support bottled water
- Bottled water is not safer
- Water is a human right
Even coffee giant Starbuck’s is participating in reducing the waste it creates through its single use cups. The company is aiming towards serving 5% of its beverages made in store in personal tumblers by 2015. In 2011, the figure attained was around 2%.
According to the Water Project, bottled water is a luxury that should only be used in emergency cases of natural disasters.
[via Four Green Steps]