Article on CNN focuses on situation in US, but applicable elsewhere, including Hong Kong, where I live.
"Carrying bottled water is on its way to being as cool as smoking while pregnant," claims the video "The Story of Bottled Water," which debuted on YouTube last month and garnered more than 450,000 views.
Is it true? Are liters of Evian now beyond the pale? Is Dasani déclassé? Has bottled water become the new eco-no-no?
Not quite yet. Though water sales have seen a recent downturn, plenty of folks are still paying for their daily hydration.
Leonard argues that not only does tap water often beat out bottled in blind taste tests, but bottled is often less regulated than tap. Tap water is monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency, whose standards are generally stricter than the Food and Drug Administration, which oversees most bottled-water sales.
Also, she says, tap water is certainly cheaper -- thousands of times cheaper. Not to mention that some of the best-selling bottled waters -- Pepsi's Aquafina and Coca-Cola's Dasani among them -- are, actually, nothing but filtered tap water. The companies themselves have spelled this out on labels after pressure from the consumer watchdog group Corporate Accountability International
Add the fact that, according to Leonard, the amount of petroleum used to make water bottles every year is "enough to fuel a million cars" and that 80 percent of supposedly recyclable plastic bottles end up in landfills, you have the makings a ecological crusade.
Bottled water companies haven't simply ignored all the criticism. The Nestle company, which bottles several brands of water, issued a study pointing out that water has a lower environmental impact than sports drinks and other beverages.
Both Coca-Cola's Dasani and Pepsi's Aquafina have introduced new bottles that are supposedly "greener" than those used before. And Fiji maintains charitable and ecological campaigns to highlight the company's awareness.
"Greenwashing" is the view of many in the environmental movement, who believe that this is all nothing but PR spin.