The Story of Bottled Water (2010) Movie Script

this is a story about a world obsessed with stuff
it's a story about a system in crisis.
we're trashing the planet
we're trashing each other
and we're not even having fun
the good thing, is that when we start to understand the system
we can see lots of places to step in and turn these problems into solutions
one the problems with trying to use less stuff
is that sometimes we feel like we really need it
what if you live in a city like, say cleveland, and you want a glass of water
are you going to take your chances and get it from the city tap?
or should you reach for a bottle of water that comes from the pristine rainforests of
Well, Fiji brand water thought the answer to this question was obvious
So they built a whole ad campaign around it
it turned out to be one of the dumbest moves
in advertising history
the city of cleveland it like being the butt
of fiji jokes
so they did some tests and guess what?
These tests showed a glass of Fiji water is lower quality
it loses taste tests against Cleveland tap
and costs thousands of times more
this story is typical of what happens when
you test bottled water against tap water
is it cleaner?
sometimes, sometimes not
in many ways bottled water is less regulated
than tap
Is it tastier?
In taste tests across the country, people consistently
choose tap over bottled water.
These bottled water companies say theyre just meeting consumer demand
but who would demand a less sustainable
less tasty, way more expensive product
especially one you can get almost free in your kitchen
bottled water costs that two thousand times more than tap water
Can you imagine paying 2000 times the price of anything else?
how about a $10,000 sandwich?
yet people in the US by more than half a billion
gallons of water every week
that is enough to circle the globe more than five times
how did this come to be?
well it all goes back to how our materials economy works
and one of its key drivers which is known is manufactured demand
if companies want to keep growing
they have to keep selling more and more stuff
in the 1970s giant soft drink companies
got worried as they saw their growth projections
starting to level off
there's only so much soda that a person can drink
Plus it wouldn't be long before people began
realizing that soda is not that healthy
and turned back to [gasp] drinking tap water.
well the companies found their next big idea
in a silly designer product that most people laughed off
as a passing yuppie fad
"Water is free," people said back then.
"what will they sell us next, air?"
so how do you get people to buy this fringe product?
Simple. You manufacture demand
How do you do that?
Well, imagine you're in charge of the bottled water
Since people aren't lining up to trade their hard-earned money
for you unnecessary product
you make them feel scared and insecure if the dont have it
and that's exactly what the bottled water industry did
one of their first marketing tactics was to
scare people about tap water
with ads like Fiji's Cleveland campaign.
""When were done," one top water exec said,
"tap water will be relegated to showers and washing dishes."
Next, you hide the reality of your product behind
images of pure fantasy
Have you ever noticed how bottled water tries to seduce us
with pictures of mountains streams and pristine nature?
But guess where a third of all bottled water in the U.S. actually
comes from?
The tap!
Pepsis Aquafina and Cokes Dasani
are two of the many brands that are really filtered tap water
But the pristine nature lie goes much deeper.
In a recent full page ad, Nestl said:
Bottled water is the most environmentally
responsible consumer product in the world.
They are trashing the environment all along the products life cycle.
Exactly how is that environmentally responsible?
The problems start here with extraction and production
where oil is used to make water bottles
Each year, making the plastic water bottles
used in the U.S. takes enough oil and energy
to fuel a million cars.
All that energy spent to make the bottle
even more to ship it around the planet
and then we drink it in about 2 minutes?
That brings us to the big problem at the other end of the life cycle
Disposal. What happens to all these bottles when were done?
Eighty percent end up in landfills,
where they will sit for thousands of years,
or in incinerators, where they are burned, releasing
toxic pollution.
The rest gets collected for recycling.
I was curious about where the plastic bottles
that I put in recycling bins go.
I found out that shiploads were being sent
to India.
So, I went there.
Ill never forget riding over a hill outside Madras
where I came face to face with a mountain
of plastic bottles from California.
Real recycling would turn these bottles
back into bottles.
But that wasnt what was happening here.
Instead these bottles were slated to be downcycled,
which means turning them into lower quality
products that would just be chucked later.
The parts that couldnt be downcycled were thrown away there
shipped all the way to India just to be dumped in
someone elses backyard.
If bottled water companies want to use mountains
on their labels,
itd be more accurate to show one of these
mountains of plastic waste.
Scaring us, seducing us, and misleading us
these strategies are all core parts of manufacturing demand
Once theyve manufactured all this demand,
creating a new multibillion dollar market,
they defend it by beating out the competition.
But in this case,
the competition is our basic human right to
clean, safe drinking water.
Pepsis Vice Chairman publicly said,
The biggest enemy is tap water!
They want us to think its dirty and bottled
water is the best alternative.
In many places, public water is polluted
thanks to polluting industries like
the plastic bottle industry!
And these bottled water guys are all too happy
to offer their expensive solutions
which keep us hooked on their products.
Its time we took back the tap.
That starts with making a personal commitment
to not buy or drink bottled water unless the water
in your community is truly unhealthy.
Yes, it takes a bit of foresight to grab a
reusable bottle on the way out, but I think we can handle it
Then take the next step
join a campaign thats working for real solutions.
Like demanding investment in clean tap water for all
In the US, tap water is underfunded by $24 billion
partly because people believe drinking water
only comes from a bottle!
Around the world, a billion people dont
have access to clean water right now.
Yet cities all over are spending millions of dollars to deal with all
the plastic bottles we throw out.
What if that money were spent improving our water systems
or better yet, preventing pollution to begin with?
There are many more things we can do to solve this problem.
Lobby your city officials to bring back drinking fountains
Work to ban the purchase of bottled water
by your school, organization or entire city
This is a huge opportunity for millions of people to wake up
and protect our wallets,
our health
and the planet.
The good news is: its already started.
Bottled water sales have begun to drop while business is booming
for safe refillable water bottles. Yay!
Restaurants are proudly serving tap
and people are choosing to pocket the hundred of thousands
of dollars they would otherwise be wasting
on bottled water
Carrying bottled water is on its way to being
as cool as smoking while pregnant.
We know better now.
The bottled water industry is getting worried
because the jig is up.
We are not buying into their
manufactured demand anymore.
We will choose our own demands,
thank you very much, and were demanding clean, safe water for all
thank you very much, and were demanding clean, safe water for all