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April 23, 2008
To the Editor: The headline of the second page of the July article, "Bottled waters are putting out good vibrations," caught my attention, but probably not for the reasons NFM intended. You see, like a lot of people in and outside the natural food industry, I'm beginning to conclude that there is little about bottled water that's good for nature. Yet each year corporations like Coca-Cola and Pepsi spend hundreds of millions to "put out good vibes" and cultivate a feel-good, soft-focus image of bottled water as both the product of a clean environment and as compatible with environmental stewardship.
But, in fact, it is becoming increasingly clear to a few, like Charles Fishman of Fast Company and the nonprofit Corporate Accountability, that buying and selling bottled water is tantamount to driving a Hummer. Yes, there are a few occasions where even a huge SUV (or some bottled water) makes perfect sense, but overwhelmingly it's bad for the environment, bad for your wallet, and just plain unnecessary. As others have pointed out, the United States has already invested untold billions of public money to create a great, clean and safe public water system that costs the user only cents per gallon. Given all our other environment challenges, do we really need to add the senseless bottling, shipping, refrigeration and disposal of billions of gallons of water? I hope in the months to come that NFM will encourage retailers to consider whether promoting bottled water sales is really compatible with their commitments to responsible and sustainable business practices.
For more information on the ramifications of this new, very profitable industry, see: www.fastcompany.com/magazine/117/features-message-in-a-bottle.html and www.stopcorporateabuse.org/cms/page1248.cfm.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVIII/number 9/p. 26
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