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Pro Bottled Water Group Targets Teens

water bottle

Are you familiar with the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA)? They’re a trade association focused on defending the bottled water industry. Chances are, when we post about taking back the tap, someone from IBWA is ready with a pro-bottled water comment.

IBWA’s new campaign targets teens with a video featuring a teenage girl deriding the Take Back the Tap movement as a group who wants to limit beverage choices:

What really gets me about this video is that the girl comes off almost sounding spoiled to me. She talks about consumer choices and how you deserve bottled water, but, as the folks at Food and Water Watch point out, when you choose bottled water you’re making a number of hidden choices that IBWA doesn’t mention. When you look at what you’re really choosing when you buy bottled water, her preferences start to feel a little bit shallow.

Hidden Choices

Bottled water companies support water privatization, which usually affects the poorest areas. When companies like Nestle buy up water rights so that they can make a profit on bottling that water, it often causes water prices in those areas to skyrocket. This isn’t only happening in the third world. Water privatization is an issue right here in the U.S. in places like the Great Lakes.

The video also doesn’t talk about how choosing bottled water means choosing a petroleum project. It takes 47 million gallons of oil to feed our yearly bottled water addiction.

The Unspoken Choice

With all her talk about choice, the teen in the video doesn’t once mention the less expensive, more eco-friendly option that doesn’t involve tramping on folks’ water rights: carrying a reusable water bottle.

Of course they don’t mention that, because when we choose a reusable bottle, we’re not paying hundreds of times the price of water and supporting the unsustainable bottled water industry.

Worried about the safety of tap water? Most bottled water is just filtered tap water, and that’s easy enough to address. You can fill your reusable bottled up with water you filter at home. If you get thirsty a lot on the go, there are companies out there now who make reusable water bottles with a built in filter. Easy peasy! It’s like your very own, portable bottled water factory at a fraction of the cost.

Need more reasons to kick the bottled water? Check out A Case Against Bottled Water for a handy infographic or The Story of Bottled Water.

h/t: Food and Water Watch

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by calliope

3 comments
  1. Tim Simmons

    Actually, if you look at the IBWA’s YouTube analytics, you’ll see that the video is reaching its target group 35+ males and females and not teens as your headline suggests. Actually where do you get the targeting bit from as nothing in your article substantiates this?

    1. Becky Striepe

      Interesting! Thanks for taking the time to look at the analaytics. Where did you read that they’re targeting folks 35+?

      If you take a moment to check out the source article as well, you’ll see Food & Water Watch also reports that the video targets teens. That the narrator is a teen girl also seems to imply that they’re aiming it at young people.

      Regardless of the target, the main points remain: bottled water is not healthy for the planet (and therefore the people), and framing it as a right like the teen girl in the video does is misleading and a little bit shallow.

  2. JB Speed

    Supports privatization of water rights? Really? Bottled water uses such a minimal amount of water that it just doesn’t make practical sense. Watering golf courses, industrial processing, etc. uses far more water.

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