'Inside the Bottle,' the people's campaign on the bottled water industry

• “Water promises to be to the 21st century
what oil was to the 20th century: the precious
commodity that determines the wealth of
– Fortune Magazine, May 2000
• Bottled water is the fastest growing segment
of the North American beverage industry.
• In Canada, bottled water now outpaces the
consumption of coffee, tea, and milk.
• At the same time that areas of our world are
experiencing the hardships of water scarcity
and water pollution, sales of bottled water are
The Big 4
• Nestlé owns: Perrier, Arrowhead, Pure Life or
San Pellegrino brands
• PepsiCo owns: Aquafina
• Coca-Cola owns: Dasani
• Danone owns: Naya, Naya Go, Naya Aquakids
• Bottled water comes from two sources:
• ground sources, springs, rivers, streams and glaciers in rural
or outlying areas
• Purified or processed water taken directly from municipal
tap water
In Ontario
Pepsi-Co: Aquafina – Missisauga Tap water
Coca-Cola: Dasani – Brampton tap water
Nestlé: Pure life – Guelph ground water
Bottled Water is Tap Water, So What?
It is convenient for me!
• The International Bottled Water Association’s claims
that bottled water is superior to tap water clash with
several peer-reviewed scientific studies.
• Some studies have found disturbing concentrations
of toxic ingredients like arsenic, mercury and
synthetic organic chemical in bottled water products.
• March 19th 2004, shortly after Coca-Cola
launched Dasani brand in the U.K., announced
it was recalling 500,000 bottles of Dasani.
Why? Bromated contamination, which they
discovered was a by-product of the way they
had used reverse osmosis.
• the longer water sits in the bottle and the
more it is exposed to sunlight, the higher the
levels of antimony (a carcinogen) are leached
from the plastic bottles into the water.
Not to Mention, it is much more
Bottled water is 240-10,000
times more expensive then tap
A bottle of Dasani costs $1.70
with taxes.
$1.70 will get you 34,000 litres
of Brampton tap water. That’s
around 60,000 bottles.
Coca-Cola pays 5 cents per 1000
• Are the processes and regulations that the
bottled water industry claim make their
product better than tap water really worth
this kind of price markup (higher than oil)
when we’ve already paid for safe tap water
through our public tap water?
Consumer manipulation… deceptive
• Just ten years ago, most people relied on their
municipal system for their drinking water. Today,
close to 1/5 of the population of Canada and the US
drinks bottled water exclusively. The industry’s target
market is 18-44 year-olds in order to create a new
generation of consumers weaned on bottled water.
The precision targeting is on the young, the affluent
and the athletic. Marketing tactics exploit people’s
fear and fashion motivations to buy into being
trendy, upscale or, paradoxically, safer.
Corporate control…
unfair monopoly
• Across the US and Canada, more and more schools,
universities and colleges are signing vending contracts with
Pepsi or Coca-Cola. In exchange for exclusive vending rights,
schools receive cash. Contracts typically include conditions on
the number of products that must be sold, extensive
corporate logo placement within the school, and strict
confidentiality around the contract itself. Schools have found
vending machine placement often impacts access to, or even
the presence of, water fountains. Schools are also getting
stuck with the machines’ energy costs, which can be tens of
thousands of dollars each year.
Environmental Impacts
• Bottled water containers labeled with images of pristine natural
environments are rapidly becoming a major threat to the environment and
our health.
• In 2002, only 35% of plastic beverage containers in Ontario were recycled.
• Plastic bottles are becoming the fastest growing form of municipal solid
waste in the U.S. and Canada.
• When manufactured,
plastic water containers
release highly dangerous
toxic chemicals and
contaminants into the air
and water, and again when
they are burned or buried.
• Over 33,000 tonnes of
plastic was burned or
buried in 2002 releasing
toxins into the ground and
• Bottling plants: These plastic bottles are
actually made up of natural gas and crude oil.
Therefore carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and
nitrogen oxides are emitted when they are
produce which contributes to global water
and acid rain.
• Transportation: Consider that bottled water
relies on oil based transportation to get from
the source to where it is consumed. The
impacts of this are particularly disturbing
when considering luxury labels such as Fiji
water which have to be flown from Fiji to our
local stores
The Purity Myth
• Bottled water plants are government
inspected, on average, once every three years
in Canada.
• The City of Toronto tests its tap water every 4
• Arsenic, mercury and antimony have been
found in bottled water samples
• The bottled water industry extracts millions of
litres of water a day and pay virtually nothing
for it.
Tap water is bottled water’s number
one competitor
A Growing Movement
• San Francisco mayor banned bottled water
from City Hall
• Restaurants banning sale of bottled water in
favour of tap water: Oz Kafe in Ottawa
• Aquafina was forced to admit the water they
sell is simply tap water
• Clarke, Tony. Inside the Bottle: Exposing the
Bottled Water Industry. Revised and Updated
Ed. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives,
Ottawa: 2007.
• Polaris Institute
• 180 Metcalfe St. Suite 500
• Ottawa, Ontario
• K2P 1P5
• (613) 237-1717
• [email protected]