The bottled water coolers in Hesperian’s office seemed to be just a part of the typical office landscape — after all, you see them in every office you visit, everywhere.
With dismay, we learned last month that the company which supplied our bottled water had been purchased by Nestle. The same Nestle of infant formula infamy. Activists have been waging a 30-year boycott of Nestle to protest their unethical marketing practices aiming to convince poor mothers around the world to buy formula instead of breast feeding their babies. As health activists, we couldn’t continue to buy water from Nestle.
And after discussing it, we realized that we shouldn’t be buying bottled water at all. While it may be convenient to get boiling hot or ice-cold water from the cooler, our public water system provides us with good quality, good tasting drinking water. After a four-year study, the Natural Resources Defense Council concluded that bottled water is no cleaner or safer than tap water. But big bottled water corporations like Nestle, Coke, and Pepsi (leaders of the $10 Billion US bottled water industry) have convinced many of us that somehow drinking water out of a tap isn’t “as good” as drinking it out of a bottle. Just as women have been bombarded with advertising to make them think that feeding their babies breast milk isn’t as good as giving them infant formula in a bottle. Who cares about truth when there’s a profit to be made?
Half of all Americans drink bottled water, and one in six Americans drink only bottled water. We invite you to join us in reducing that number and reclaiming tap water as a healthy choice, both at home and in the workplace.
For more information about the continuing Nestle Boycott, see the Baby Milk Action website for great reading, (and to view all the brands under this company). You might also want to read in the Boycott Nestle blog about Nestle buying Gerber Baby Foods.
For more information about bottled water, see the “Think outside the bottle campaign” of Corporate Accountability. Food and Water Watch is also a good resource on privatization of water.