Health washing: Nestle Pure Life water

After I wrote this post discussing the environmental detriments of bottled water, I didn’t think I’d be writing another bottled water post anytime soon. Then, I saw a Nestle Pure Life water commercial and I couldn’t contain myself. Like most Nestle water commercials, this ad glamorized bottled water and stretched the truth. It specifically targeted moms,  suggesting that bottled water is a necessary component of a healthy diet for kids. While I couldn’t find the exact ad, I did find this similar one:

Nestle says “We believe that clean, high quality water is critical to human and environmental health.” I absolutely agree with that statement. And as the ad above says, we should be drinking more water and less sugary beverages. But who says that water needs to come from a bottle? There is a place for bottled water, and that is where the local water is unsafe to drink. Here in most parts of North America, we are lucky to have access to free flowing, clean, safe drinking water in our taps. Yet, people are lining up to pay for water that was bottled and trucked in from a small town in the mid-west U.S.

But Nestle’s blatant misleading doesn’t stop at “health”. Upon researching for this post, I stumbled upon Nestle’s ‘commitment to the environment and sustainability’. The Nestle Canada’s President’s Message states:

When you walk into your favourite grocer and buy any one of our bottled water products, you should have every confidence that you are doing the right thing from a health perspective as well from an environmental standpoint.

While our packaging (bottles, caps, plastic wrap and cardboard are 100 percent recycle, we are encouraging local and provincial governments across Canada to work with us and our industry partners to find ways to recycle more plastic bottles.

The problem with bottled water is much bigger than the packaging. Even if 100% of bottles were recycled, the simple fact that bottled water is removed from one location, bottled in an energy intensive plant, and shipped thousands of miles away makes it unsustainable and environmentally liable. Not to mention the millions of plastic bottles that are made from non-renewable fossil fuels. No matter what Nestle is doing in terms of ‘sustainability’, it is more environmentally costly than walking to the sink and pouring a glass of water from the tap.

Back to the health washing for a moment, the message goes on to say:

Bottled water is proving to be very helpful at a time when obesity and diabetes are on the increase amongst all Canadians, but particularly young Canadians born after 2000. Almost 30 percent of them are overweight or obese, are susceptible to diabetes and may be the first generation of Canadians whose life expectancy may be shorter than their parents’.
In no way is bottled water superior to tap water, and to allude that there is any connection between consuming more bottled water and lowering diabetes risk or improving health or nutrition, is false and misleading.

Would you buy bottled air? Seriously, think about it. Why pay for something that is harmful to the environment, has zero health benefit, and is available (for next to FREE) in your own tap? Despite what Nestle would have you believe, the bottom line is that bottled water is not healthier, ultimately, it takes a toll on our environment and that does have a direct negative impact on our health. Bottled water is not only unnecessary, it’s an indulgence. Check out the video below to get the “story of bottled water”.

For all you water connoisseurs who prefer the taste of filtered water, a simple tap filter or filtered jug will do the trick.