Greenwash Of The Week: Fiji Bottled Water.

November 26, 2008

This week’s Greenwash comes to us courtesy of Fiji Spring Water – “Every Drop Is Green“. I saw a bottle of this stuff at a mineral spring my wife and I were at last weekend and I started reading the bottle and was amazed at what they were trying to sell to consumers; that they were, in-fact, “Green” and that they were an eco-friendly company. Um, ok. Well, let’s take a look:

  • Fiji is in the South Pacific Ocean and is 5,500 miles away from Los Angeles
  • All the plastic needed to make the bottles has to not only be shipped to Fiji, but then shipped all over the world full of the water
  • They are draining the aquifers of the native people, which is very valuable as the island is made out of volcanic rock without much fresh water
  • Plastic takes over 500 years to degrade in a landfill, and unfortunately only about 23% of it gets recycled
  • About one-third of Fiji’s people lack access to clean drinking water while this company makes millions off bottled water
  • It takes a lot of energy and fuel to extract the water, make the bottles, pack the bottles, and ship the bottles over land and sea

So when they say that “Every drop is green”, nothing could be further from the truth. To their credit, they are doing several things to try to be more environmentally friendly, but marketing water sold in a plastic bottle as “green” is definitely not one of them. Add in the fact that a study by the Environmental Working Group found that bottled water had the same amount or more of chemical contaminants than tap water does, and you can really see the greenwashing in full effect. I wish bottled water companies would just come out and say “Yes, we know it is bad, but some people like water in plastic bottles, so we are not going anywhere”. At least then they would come across as honest.

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About the Author:

After a varied past of being a test driver for automotive television programs, a Hollywood studio lackey, and an online media sales director, David is now the publisher and editor of The Good Human. In his spare time he rides motorcycles, drinks good beer, and builds stuff in the garage. You can follow him on Twitter at @thegoodhuman or G+ at Google
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Comments (5)

  1. Susy says:

    I really really HATE greenwashing. I hate that you have to buy something to be “green”. Buying in general is really not green. We’ve been trying to do without many products we used to use and if we can’t we try to find a green alternative. But even “green” products are manufactured and many still come in plastic. It’s kind of like the lesser of 2 evils. Bottled water – just plain evil! We use metal water bottles and refill at the sink.

    • Prof Rudi Affolter says:

      I have been using the same metal water bottle holding about 2 pints on a daily basis for about 30 years. How many plastic bottles does that add up to I wonder? And how much energy used to produce them? And all the other costs?

  2. David says:

    You are exactly right – but when you do buy, it is important to buy the “right” thing, which this is absolutely not. Thanks for the comment!

  3. BTW, bottle water is HEAVILY unregulated. The FDA has little or no say on the deal. I highly doubt it comes from Fiji. Probably bottled from “Municipal Water Source” of Newark, New Jersey.

    Susy, you are not alone. I am so sick of it too. I hate the following:

    AntecEarthwatts…. Energy Plus80 series, complete bull…

    Hybrid Vehicles… STILL USES TERROROIL

    and my personal favorite

    “eco-friendly natural” foods. Hmmmmmmm…. isn’t everything natural? Chemical free? Water is a chemical. Air is a chemical. Nitrogen, Oxygen… Argon… :D

    Bottle water is the biggest scam perpetrated on the American/World Consumer. We spend TRILLIONS in publicworks for clean tap water. Hydrogen-Oxygen is Hydrogen-Oxygen no matter if it has a bottle made from oil or not.

  4. xurizaemon says:

    i live in the south pacific (aotearoa) and i too doubt very much they are shipping water to the USA – ever heard the phrase “selling ice to eskimos”?

    would be interesting to ask Fiji Water

    i certainly wouldn’t drink a packaged water whose brand says ‘every drop is green’. clean water is not supposed to be green …