Greenwash Of The Week: “Up To 30% From Plants” Bottled Tap Water.

February 24, 2010

Yet another bottled water company trying to greenwash go green by coming up with catchphrases – while leaving the plastic-encapsulated tap water inside their bottles. Dasani, made by Coca-Cola, is just filtered tap water sold in a plastic bottle priced at rates thousands of times higher than water at home costs. Bottled water can cost, depending on the “manufacturer”, anywhere between $0.89 to $8.26 per gallon – and the average price of tap water at your house is about $0.002 per gallon. Talk about a ripoff. Plastic water bottles are disposed of (not recycled) at the rate of 30 million a day and it can take nearly 7 times the amount of water in the bottle to actually make the bottle itself. So, what is a “bottled tap water” company to do when they want to greenwash you? Try to fool you into thinking that their bottles are green because they are partially made out of some sort of plant material – “Up to 30%!” they say. So, it could be 1%? Sounds like a greenwash to me.

There are a few problems with any of these plant-based “plastics”, besides the obvious greenwashing involved. First, how much energy is used to turn plant materials into a plastic that will hold it’s shape and merge with real plastic? Since plastic bottles alone require 17.6 million barrels of oil to make, imagine how much oil it takes to make the energy to turn plants into plastic. I imagine it’s quite a bit, and I will try to find out more info for a future post. Second of all, these plant-based plastics can gum up recycling systems. After all, they aren’t plastic and thus shouldn’t be recycled along with regular bottles – but they still end up in the recycling stream. And because they shouldn’t be recycled, they don’t have a second life and might be ruining the chance of “real” plastic to be used again. This could be making all plastics made with this fake plastic “single-use-only” for all we know. And thirdly, what kind of plants are being used to make this stuff? GMO crops? Plants sprayed with pesticides and fertilizers and thus contaminating the plants, the earth, and our waterways? No thanks, I will pass on the greenwashing.

Plant-based plastics have given very ungreen companies a sure-fire way to put together a marketing campaign designed to trick people with their greenwashing. And by wrapping a plastic bottle in a plant, designing their own official plantbottle logo (which means nothing outside the company), and saying “Up to 30% made from plants” they are trying to convince you that tap water in plastic bottles is ok – it’s not. Get yourself a good quality reusable bottle and read my post 12 Reasons To Stop Drinking Bottled Water and learn the facts. Don’t fall for the greenwashing.

Green PolkaDot Box

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 (4)

  1. Good ‘ol Coca-Cola strikes with another Earth Day (or almost) blunder, eh?

  2. Lee says:

    i think when bio-plastics are more mainstream, it will be less of a hassle, but i can’t even comprehend a mixed plastic container. what is the use of that?
    if it was bio-plastic, you could just throw it into your compost heap. if it was regular plastic, you can recycle it. but with both… it’s in limbo?

    btw, there is a you-tube video on making your own ‘science fair’ grade bio-plastic at home… i’m not sure it’s as difficult to make as it might be to get companies to actually use!

    • david says:

      Hopefully they will never become mainstream, as the energy, crops, pesticides, and “correct” compost piles needed to use them would be a huge burden. Way more than just reusing plastic over and over again.

  3. I’m proud to say I never “Bought In” to this scam…I’m still using a nalgene bottle that is nearly 10 years old…Its made fro FEP Teflon…so the whole BPA thing is a non-issue.

    I recently wrote about refilling bottles…do you remember that!

    http://kmswoodworks.wordpress.com/2010/02/06/do-you-remember-when-soda-and-beer-bottles-were-re-filled/