This movie was shown at Radford University a few days ago, but sadly I was unable to make it. Lucky for me though, it’s available for free on hulu! Don’t you love that? So…after reading this, or before…go watch it! You’ll be glad you did!
Tapped starts out talking about Nestle extracting water from a small town in Maine and what that’s doing to their local water supply and ecosystem. I had no idea, that there is truly no regulation on extracting underground water. Basically, you go in and take it and you don’t really have to answer to anyone. Which is the main reason the citizens are upset (well, that and the fact they’re stealing their drinking water), they got absolutely no say so in whether or not the company was allowed in.
I don’t know if most people know, but the majority of bottled water, is actually not from springs or natural sources, it’s from “municipal sources” aka Tap Water. That’s right, that yummy bottle of Dasani you’re drinking right now, tap water. Except you paid 19 times what tap water actually cost. In fact, a bottle of water cost the company about 1-2 cent to produce. You paid, what $1.50 or so for that? Yeah, no mark up there.
The other thing most people don’t realize is no one really monitors the bottled water industry. They’re self-regulated. Which means they do all their own testing, and don’t really have to show the reports to anyone. They may test every day or two, whereas municipal water sources are highly regulated and test their water many times a day to ensure it’s safety. In most cases, tap water is actually safer for you than bottled water. Making you re-think that bottle of water right now, huh?
Not only is the safety of the bottle water addressed, along with environmental concerns, but also the ethics of the 3 big bottled water companies. Nestle, Coke and Pepsi. Remember a few years ago when we were in a really severe drought so there were mandatory conservation measures put in place? You couldn’t water your lawn or wash your car? Well guess what? The big 3, were still bottling water from municipal sources. So, while you couldn’t use water, it was perfectly okay for them too? Even when lake levels were massively low from drought, they just kept pumping away.
Part of the other obvious problem with bottled water is…well the bottle. First off the bottles leach dangerous chemicals that have been found to cause cancer, diabetes and obesity. So while you’re drinking water to lose weight, it could actually be causing you to gain weight. The other problem with the bottles are the fact that they are using oil in refineries to make the plastic. (Sounds healthy, huh?) It’s especially scary for the residents who live near these refineries that experience major health problems from the fumes and chemicals these oil companies are pumping in the air.
I felt especially bad for a Corpus Christi, TX resident that the movie interviewed. He was explaining that there are battles you fight to win, and then other battles you start that you know you’re going to lose. So he chooses not to fight. That pains me. No, chances are he won’t win, but maybe that lost battle will help us win the war on oil and bottled water companies.
Another issue with the bottles is, well, they have to end up somewhere…and normally that’s not in the recycling bin. The world rate of recycling bottled water containers is 50%. Doesn’t sound all too shabby, huh? Well, sadly in the US that rate is only 20%. That’s right, we’re such a huge world power, rich and can afford to pay 19 times the price of water, yet, we don’t recycle? Aren’t we just spoiled brats that squander away what’s given to us? There are a few solutions to this problem. Several states require deposits on water bottles, and those states with a 5 cent deposit see a recycling rate of 70%! Raise that deposit to 10 cent and it goes up to 97%! Sadly only a handful of states have bottle deposits. Why? Because manufacturers fight tooth and nail to not have to do deposits. They see it as an encroachment on their profit, which as we’ve already seen is astronomical so a few lost pennies really shouldn’t be such a big deal, right? The bottled water companies do “encourage recycling” but they want people to use curbside recycling. Which, usually is funded by tax payers, so the company gets to look good without spending a penny. As a wrote in another post about curbside recycling, there’s several problems with that. The main one being that 50% of Americans don’t have access to curbside recycling. Yep, 50%!
Sadly most plastic bottles actually end up in our world’s oceans. These are very fragile ecosystems that support a huge majority of the earth’s life. And sadly we’re losing them because of bottled water. Do you remember learning about plankton in school? Those super little tiny organisms that are feed on by whales? And we’re taught how numerous they are? Well, right now in certain parts of the oceans, there is actually more plastic than plankton. How’s that for scary?
I only had one major issue in this film. They kept blaming the bottled water companies. Yes, they need to be blamed, but 99% of the blame needs to be laid on consumers. If you don’t buy it, they won’t produce it. They produce it because it’s huge profits and people pay it. From a business stand point, it’s genius!
The movie does also make the point that in some situations bottled water is a much needed necessity. Natural disasters, third world countries where clean water isn’t available. But in normal, every day American activity it should really have no place.