If you drink Bottled Water – you must love Chavez…

OK just kidding. Although there is some (minimal) logic to the above assertion: carting bottled water around the world releases many tons of carbon caused by burning oil-based fuel. The US buys a large amount of its oil from Venezuela; thus through a leaky and disputable conduit pipe of causation, drinking bottled water puts money in Hugo’s pocket. And as we know Chavez has touted oil as a “geopolitical weapon”.

Hugo Chavez

Let’s also remember that tapwater in the US has been proved to be “as good” as bottled water … infact, many bottled water purveyors get their water from the tap.

Bottled water manufacturers are under attack from many quarters and are now – in a way disappointingly – pinning their hopes on recycling. This means they don’t have to alter packaging or distribution (although I have been reading about “better” plastic bottles … Pepsi says it has trimmed the amount of plastic in its half-liter Aquafina water bottles by nearly 40%), rather we are asked to dispose of said landfill more responsibly. “Our vision is to no longer have our packaging viewed as waste but as a resource for future use,” says Scott Vitters, Coke’s director of sustainable packaging. OK… Let’s hope it works, as in the U.S., just 23% of recyclable PET bottles and jars are actually recycled, down from 40% a decade ago (National Association for PET Container Resources).

bottled water
Image from Chris Jordan‘s Running The Numbers.

Bottled water is one of the many sectors that must face the fact that the US may have reached an environmentally concerned tipping point.

By the way, in a depressing post scriptum, we also learned this week that eating meat is worse for the environment, inter alia, than driving a car, and that even the mere act of shopping has unexpected consequences …

I am hoping Leo DiCaprio’s new film will give us a few answers(!)

UPDATE: I read that Coke is now “pouring” (not my pun) “$44million into its first U.S. plastic-bottle-recycling plant as part of a larger $60 million effort to give the company a “greener” environmental image. “It’s important to consumers, it’s important to our system and our employees, and it’s the right thing to do,” says Sandy Douglas, president of Coca-Cola North America.

John Faucher, beverage analyst at JPMorgan, pointed out that “In the scheme of things, (Coke’s plan) is not a huge investment, but Coke and Pepsi are continuing to fight a public-relations battle on recycling”.

Greenwashing?

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