Bottled Water Industry Fights Back Against Annie Leonard's "Story of Bottled Water"

Story of Bottled Water

Earlier this week, we took a look at The Story of Bottled Water, Annie Leonard's short animated film about the bottled water industry. Apparently, the film hasn't gone over too well with bottled water industry types, who have fought back with one of the worst examples of greenwashing we've seen in a long time.

The video above, sent out by the International Bottled Water Association, offers up plenty of pretty pictures of nature, along with some fun facts (the industry plants trees to restore forests!) and questionable statistics. The video claims, for example, that water bottles have a 30.9% recycling rate. But Annie Leonard's video says that 80% of plastic bottles either end up in landfills or are incinerated. Even if the IBWA's statistic is correct, that's still a whole lot of plastic landing in the dump.

In a press release accompanying its video, the IBWA also claims that Leonard's video "completely ignores an important aspect of bottled water. In times of emergency, bottled water is always there when you need it. Floods, wildfires, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, terrorist attacks, boil alerts and other events often compromise municipal water systems. Lifesaving bottled water cannot be available in times of pressing need without a viable, functioning industry to produce it." That's a fair point, but in fact, bottled water isn't there when we need it—The New York Times points us to this AP article that claims more people die from polluted water each year than from all types of violence.

So, bottled water industry, if you want to win us over, it's time to step up your game. You can start by nixing the cheesy videos.

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4 Comments

  • Tom Lauria

    Hi -- Tom Lauria from IBWA here. We're about to step-up our game so you'll be won over. Why don't we light-weight our plastic bottles by, say, 32%. That would be like eliminating 1 out 3 bottles. Wait! We already do. And why don't we back more curbside recycling programs? Sure, the empty bottled water container is already the single most recycled item in cubside recycling programs but we still striving to do better. As for our environmental footprint, we already have been found to be the lowest in the packaged beverage catagory.

  • Tom Lauria

    Hi -- Tom Lauria from IBWA here. We're about to step-up our game so you'll be won over. Why don't we light-weight our plastic bottles by, say, 32%. That would be like eliminating 1 out 3 bottles. Wait! We already do. And why don't we back more curbside recycling programs? Sure, the empty bottled water container is already the single most recycled item in cubside recycling programs but we still striving to do better. As for our environmental footprint, we already have been found to be the lowest in the packaged beverage catagory.

  • Tom Lauria

    Hi -- Tom Lauria from IBWA here. We're about to step-up our game so you'll be won over. Why don't we light-weight our plastic bottles by, say, 32%. That would be like eliminating 1 out 3 bottles. Wait! We already do. And why don't we back more curbside recycling programs? Sure, the empty bottled water container is already the single most recycled item in cubside recycling programs but we still striving to do better. As for our environmental footprint, we already have been found to be the lowest in the packaged beverage catagory.

  • Elizabeth Brown

    I love how on the IBWA website, they're announcing a "New YouTube Video" about the environmentally-friendly work bottled-water companies are doing. I can just hear them in the board room... "We need to make a YouTube Video, too!"

    Guys, there's no such thing as a YouTube Video. There are videos made by people, that those people then post to YouTube.