Greenwash Of The Week: Earth Day & Coca-Cola.

April 22, 2009

In honor of Earth Day today, I wanted to show you what lengths some companies will go to in order to try to fool you into thinking they are actually concerned with the environment. As I may have mentioned here over the years, I get a lot of press releases every day, most of which go straight into the trash because they are just greenwash, pure and simple. However, I didn’t receive this one from Coke – but my friend Jen at Eco-Office Gals did, and when she shared it with me we both could not believe it! Here is the gist of it:

Earth Day is a great time to celebrate the many wonders of the world, like cool, crisp refreshing water. In honor of Mother Nature, you can earn Double Points with DASANI.

April 20th through the 30th, enjoy any 12-pack of DASANI*, then enter your codes to boost your balance with Double Points, it’s a great way to enjoy Earth Day.

Coca-Cola owns DASANI, and they think that buying plastic bottles full of filtered water in celebration of Earth Day. Plastic which takes up to 500 years to degrade in a landfill and has created an island called the “Eastern Garbage Patch“, which is an aggregation of plastic and other marine debris occupying some 700,000 square kilometers in the North Pacific Ocean. Need more reasons to stop buying bottled water?

  • American tap water is among the safest in the world.
  • As much as 40% of the bottled water sold in the U.S. is just filtered tap water anyway. Be sure to check the label and look for “from a municipal source” or “community water system”, which just means it is tap water.
  • By drinking tap water, you can avoid the fertilizer, pharmaceuticals, disinfectants, and other chemicals that studies have found in bottled water.
  • Tap water costs about $0.002 per gallon compared to the $0.89 to $8.26 per gallon charge for bottled water. If the water we use at home cost what even cheap bottled water costs, our monthly water bills would run $9,000.
  • 88% of empty plastic water bottles in the United States are not recycled. The Container Recycling Institute says that plastic water bottles are disposed of (not recycled) at the rate of 30 million a day.
  • Plastic bottles can leach chemicals into the water if left in the sun, heated up, or reused several times.
  • Production of the plastic (PET or polyethylene) bottles to meet our demand for bottled water takes the equivalent of about 17.6 million barrels of oil (not including transportation costs). That equals the amount of oil required to fuel more than one million vehicles in the U.S. each year. Around the world, bottling water uses about 2.7 million tons of plastic…each year.
  • Bottled water companies mislead communities into giving away their public water in exchange for dangerous jobs.
  • It can take nearly 7 times the amount of water in the bottle to actually make the bottle itself.
  • On a weekly basis, 37,800 18-wheelers are driving around the country delivering water.
  • The EPA sets much more stringent quality standards for tap water than the FDA does for the bottled stuff.
  • One out of 6 people in the world does not have safe drinking water, and about 3,000 children a day die from diseases caught from bad water…that we know of. This while Americans spend about $16 billion a year on bottled water.

On a day as important as Earth Day, Coca-Cola wants you to buy plastic bottles full of filtered water. Anyone else see the blatant greenwash in that? This just goes to show you that no day, even this one dedicated to our environment, is safe from companies looking to cash in and hoodwink you into thinking they actually care.

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. Yes having a plastic water company associate itself with earth day is an insult. They should celebrate earth day by shutting down theier plastic bottle factory for a day and encourage people to drink tap water!

  2. Wow! I am honored! After a particularly hectic day (new puppy put my mac charger in his water dish) serious waste of $80… a VERY forcible way to honor Earth Day thru conservation of energy aka cannot work cause the computer is dead! To see you bring this to your readers attention humbles me! Happy Earth Day! Thank you!

  3. cocoanib says:

    This makes me laugh! Sometimes I think these companies have got to be kidding…then I realize they’re not.
    I wish they would do something that actually helps the Earth today instead of degrading it while filling their pockets.

  4. blacktiger says:

    Coca Cola is awful. You should watch the film BLUE GOLD: WORLD WATER WARS and specifically the part that covers what Coca Cola is doing in, and to the country of Mexico.. horrendous. Multinational water and beverage companies are the scourge of mankind.

  5. Excellent post.

    for me, it is not the fact that they waste that I am offended by , it is that through the power of PR firms, they actually try to switch it around… that using more resources to bring you bottled water is somehow BETTER for the Earth.

    At some point the beverage industry will find themselves defending this to a much wider audience, and as their bottom lines start shrinking.. it will hit them.

    Their companies are unsustainable.

    r
    http://www.cleanergreenerchina.com