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No Bottled Water; Tap Only for Egypt’s New Prime Minister

Ebrahim Mehleb, the new prime minister of Egypt, said he wants the government to be humble and reflect the lives of its people. As part of that effort, he banned bottled water from government headquarters, according to Gulf News, and said he will drink tap water. “This step emanates from my keenness to cut spending and share the average people their lifestyle,” Mehleb, an ex-housing minister, told reporters on Friday. Al Arabiya 3/ 2/14

Starbucks recalls glass water bottles

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Health Canada and Starbucks have jointly announced a voluntary recall of glass water bottles sold by the coffee-shop chain. The recall includes about 11,000 bottles in the United States and 1,200 bottles in Canada, which can shatter when people remove or insert a stopper. Starbucks, based in Seattle, Wash., has received 10 reports of either the stoppers or the water bottles shattering, including eight incidents in which someone’s hand was cut by glass shards. The 20-ounce bottles have the words “Glass Water Bottle” printed on a blue label fixed to the bottle. The bottles were sold for $9 at Starbucks locations nationwide in January. Providence Journal_ 2/2/10

Orland, California approves Crystal Geyser bottling plant; Opponents may appeal

In the wake of Monday's Orland City Council approval of the proposed Crystal Geyser sparkling water bottling plant, project opponents haven't decided whether they will file an environmental lawsuit. The project was approved by the Orland Technical Advisory Committee in December, and then appealed by two separate groups. The 5-0 vote Monday by the City Council upheld the previous project approval and denied the appeals. Trish Saint-Evens, a member of Save Our Water Resources, said she believes the city attorney did not interpret California Environmental Quality Act rules appropriately. Saint-Evens said her group will meet next week to discuss a suit. The property has long been zoned heavy industrial, said Orland's attorney Tom Andrews during a follow-up interview Tuesday. He said Crystal Geyser matched zoning and code requirements for the area. Chico Enterprise-Record_ 2/3/10

Orland, California residents raise concerns about impact of Crystal Geyser bottling plant on groundwater supply

Orland residents belonging to the group Save Our Water Resources (SOWR) will be attending the Feb. 1 meeting of the Orland City Council to speak on behalf of an appeal they filed objecting to the Orland Technical Advisory Committee’s recent approval of Crystal Geyser’s proposal. The Calistoga-based company is seeking approval of the bottling plant on County Road 200 in Orland, on an industrial-zoned parcel that is bordered on three sides by bucolic agricultural-residential land. Prominent concerns are the effects of the water-bottling operation on groundwater supply and the movement of a nearby, PCE-contaminated dry-cleaner plume, as well as the potential for high levels of noise from both plant operations and the daily trips of 25 big-rig trucks to and from the plant. SOWR members are hoping that the Orland City Council will decide to order an environmental-impact report before any further steps are taken toward construction of the plant, which Crystal Geyser says will provide employment for 20 to 25 Orland-area residents. No EIR has been ordered in the nearly two-year period since Crystal Geyser—owned by Japanese conglomerate Otsuka Pharmaceutical—first held meetings, beginning in April 2008, with the Orland TAC. Chico News & Review_ 1/28/10

December, 2009

States urged to dump bottled water
States are being urged to eliminate funding for bottled water in their budgets from a variety of interest groups. A Boston-based corporate-accountability organization Wednesday in calling for Vermont state government to give up bottled water in favor of drinking what flows from taps.  Most note that bottled water comes in plastic containers and is trucked around — all very climate-unfriendly.  Cost is another factor, said Sarah Holzgraf of Corporate Accountability International. Vermont spent $228,874 on bottled water for state employees in 2008, she said. Her organization issued a report Wednesday about bottled-water use in four New England states titled “Getting States off the Bottle.”  “Public dollars spent to support private water interests robs the public water system of available dollars,” said McCullough, who serves on the House Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources Committee. “Many of these dollars could instead be spent to be sure tap water is safe.”  The Burlington Free Press_ 12/10/09

Nestlé Waters stresses spring water sources

With overall bottled water sales weakening in North America, category leader Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) is moving in a different direction for its latest regional spring water brands' campaign, "Born Better." "Born Better" from McCann Erikson, N.Y., represents a shift to focusing primarily on the unique sourcing of the spring waters -- coupled, in the online space, with messages related to health and the company's environmental sustainability efforts. The main visuals take the viewer on the "journey" of spring water, with narrative emphasizing that "only one-billionth of 1% [of the water on earth] is filtered naturally beneath the earth ... with a distinct balance of minerals ... and emerges crisp and refreshing enough to be called Poland Spring [or other regional brand name]." Marketing Daily_ 11/16/09

Grocery stores get another week, but for most, New York's bottled water deposit begins Oct. 31

The state's newest version of the bottle deposit law takes effect Saturday, and the purchase of bottled water will require a five cent deposit, just like beer and soda bottles. After months of legal wrangling, the law extending nickel deposits to bottled water bought in New York takes effect October 31, though grocery and convenience stores will have another week, until November 8th, to fully comply. Grocery stores have already begun gearing up. Michael Rosen, with the Food Industry Alliance, a trade group representing supermarket chains and independent food stores, says stores are scrambling to reset all of the computers. WXXI_ 10/28/09


Sacramento, California orders Nestlé to stop work on bottled water plant

The city of Sacramento has ordered food giant Nestlé to stop work on construction of a new bottled water plant in south Sacramento while the City Council decides whether to impose new planning requirements on such facilities. The council is scheduled to vote tonight on whether to require special permits for beverage bottling plants – which means they would have to go through public hearings before the Planning Commission and council. Brendan O'Rourke, a supply chain director for Nestlé, criticized the city for issuing the stop work order without an immediate explanation. The order – which was taped to a warehouse door around 3:45 p.m. Friday – put 80 people out of work, according to Nestlé. Sacramento Bee_ 10/27/09

New York judge lifts ban on five-cent bottled water deposit

A U.S. District Attorney Judge announced the nickel deposit on New York water bottles will go into effect October 31st. The measure was part of the state's "bigger better bottle bill", in an effort to increase revenue. Back in June, bottlers asked to put the bill on hold, to have more time to prepare. WBNG_ 10/24/09

"Welcome Home Heroes:" Custom-labeled bottled water to greet returning vets

Over the next few months, U.S. soldiers from the 56(th) Stryker Brigade will arrive at Fort Dix , NJ after serving tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a "thank you" for their service, the troops and their families are receiving bottled water from New Jersey American Water with the custom label: "Welcome Home Heroes." The bottles will be distributed by the Red Cross to returning troops, along with snacks and supplies donated by several other organizations. New Jersey American Water, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Water (NYSE:
AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state. News Release_ 8/31/09


Bottled water sales decline for the first time
Sales of bottled water have fallen for the first time in at least five years, assailed by wrathful environmentalists and budget-conscious consumers, who have discovered that tap water is practically free. Even Nestle, the country's largest seller of bottled water, is beginning to feel a bit parched. On Wednesday, it reported that profits for the first half of the year dropped 2.7 percent, its first decline in six years.  According to consulting firm Beverage Marketing Corp., Americans drank 8.7 billion gallons of bottled water last year, compared with 8.8 billion in 2007 -- the first decline this decade. Per capita consumption dropped from 29 gallons to 28.5. Jeff Cioletti, editor in chief of trade publication Beverage World, said he doesn't believe bottled water will return to galloping growth for a long while. Washington Post_8/13/09

Vanderbilt University drops bottled water giveaway for "filling" stations

More than 20,000 bottles of water have been handed out in past years to Vanderbilt University students and their families during move-in day at the school's dorms. No more. Water cooler “filling” stations will be set up around the residence halls to reduce waste on move-in day, August 22, according to Jennifer Hackett, Vanderbilt’scampus recycling coordinator. Reusable water bottles can be filled from the coolers, and first-year students will receive a free one. The point is to reduce the more than 38 billion plastic water bottles that end up in U.S. landfills each year, Hackett said in an emailed statement. Nashville Tennessean_ 8/10/09

PepsiCo to buy back Pepsi Bottling Group and PepsiAmericas for $7.8 billion

The world's second biggest drinks maker said the move was an effort to save money as well as to allow it to get new products to market more quickly. PepsiCo spun off the bottlers in 1999. It already owns 43% of PepsiAmericas and 33% of Pepsi Bottling Group. It will buy the rest in a combination of cash and shares. John Sicher, editor of Beverage Digest said consumers should expect to see more new Pepsi products, much more quickly, adding PepsiCo would be able to directly manage 80% of its drinks distribution in North America. BBC News_ 8/4/09

Los Angeles charity turns to bottled water to stop violence

It's called the Safe and Sober Summer Water Campaign. Organizers say on hot summer days, many people turn to alcohol to quench their thirst, and that can lead to violent behavior. By handing out free bottled water they're giving people a safe alternative. KABC_ 8/2/09

Environmental group turns to 'wry lies' to combat bottled water

To encourage the public to drink tap water rather than bottled, an environmental group’s ads feature implausible “facts.” The bottled water industry started it, the group says.
Taking a cue from antitobacco campaigns, Tappening, a group opposed to bottled water on environmental grounds, has introduced a campaign called “Lying in Advertising,” that positions bottled water companies as spreading corporate untruths.  One poster claims “Bottled Water Causes Blindness in Puppies,” while another reads “Bottled Water: 98% Melted Ice Caps. 2% Polar Bear Tears.”  “If bottled water companies can lie, we can too,” the posters read.  The “lies” in question here are about the source of bottled water. Eric Yaverbaum, a co-founder of Tappening, charged that some beverage companies did not list the source of their water — and were using only municipal water.  New York Times_7/29/09

Poland Spring abandons plan to extract water in Shapleigh

Poland Spring has removed its test wells from a wildlife management area in Shapleigh and Newfield, Maine and no longer plans to pursue extracting spring water from the area, according to a spokesperson for the company.  The withdrawal of the 13 test wells and four spring wells from the Vernon Walker Wildlife Management Area is seen as a victory by local residents who opposed the large-scale water extraction from the aquifer that lies beneath the 4,000-acre wildlife preserve.  "This is an example of local control at its best," said Shelly Gobeille, a Shapleigh resident and chair of Protect Our Water and Wildlife Resources (POWWR). Sanford News_7/30/09

Flagstaff won't sell water to Arrowhead
The city of Flagstaff,  Az. will not be selling millions of gallons of spring water from the San Francisco Peaks to a bottled-water subsidiary of the Nestle Co.  Mayor Sara Presler stated Tuesday that the proposal by Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water to annually pump 55 million gallons of potable water has been rejected by the city. She said the proposal wasn't a good fit for the community for a number of reasons, including long-term water sustainability and the use of plastic bottles.  "It is important that we have a clear and adequate water supply," she said. "We need water for our citizens and that's our priority."  Examiner.com_7/30/09

Quality of bottled water questioned in Congress
In 2008, Americans drank 8.6 billion gallons of bottled water, double the amount of a decade ago, with more than half saying they drink it because it is safer and healthier than tap water.  But at a hearing Wednesday, members of Congress were briefed on two new studies that question whether bottled water is safer than water directly from the faucet. Afterward, the committee sent letters to 13 companies requesting more information about the source of their water and how it is tested.  While the Environmental Protection Agency regulates tap water, the Food and Drug Administration regulates bottled water, which is considered a food.  Municipal water systems have been required to distribute an annual report to consumers since 1999, disclosing the name of their water source and any contaminants found in testing, as well as the potential health effects of those contaminants.  Two new reports — one from the Government Accountability Office and a second from the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit research organization — question whether the regulation of bottled water is sufficient. The environmental group recommends that bottling companies provide detailed information about the source and treatment of their water, just as providers of tap water do. New York Times_7/9/09

Settlement reached in Nestle-Mecosta County water dispute
A settlement of a long legal dispute between the Nestle Waters North America, Inc., producer of Ice Mountain bottled water, and an environmental group that fought for years to prevent or reduce the company's withdrawal of groundwater in lower Michigan has been reached. The deal allows Nestle's plant in Mecosta Township, in the west-central part of the peninsula, to pump an average of 218 gallons per minute -- or about 313,000 gallons per day -- with restrictions on spring and summer withdrawals. When the plant opened seven years ago, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's water division granted a permit allowing the company to withdraw up to 400 gallons per minute, or 576,000 gallons per day. Chicago Tribune_7/9/09

Australian town may become first in world to ban bottled water

The Southern Highlands village of Bundanoon is poised to become the first town in Australia, and quite possibly the world, to ban commercially bottled water. A town meeting tonight - bearing the almost irresistible slogan "Bundy on tap" - will ask for a formal show of hands on the proposed ban. All Bundy's shops have supported a ban, agreeing to lose over-the-counter income in order to combat the hefty carbon footprint associated with bottling water and trucking it around the state. Sydney Morning Herald_ 7/8/09

Water risks ripple through beverage industry

As environmental worries cut into sales from traditionally lucrative bottled water, beverage companies such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestlé and SABMiller are becoming more attuned to the risks of negative consumer environmental perceptions. About a third of the world's people now live in areas of water stress, said Brooke Barton, manager of corporate accountability for Ceres, a network of environmental groups and investors seeking to address sustainability challenges. By 2025, she said it will be more like two-thirds. As they face criticism, multinational drink companies are setting water conservation targets, building community wells and more efficient factories, working with locals on sustainable farming, water harvesting and reforestation and looking for new technologies to reduce their water consumption even as they make more drinks. EurActiv.com_ 6/16/09

Venice promotes tap water to reduce trash

In this hot and noble city, discarded water bottles float by gondolas on the edges of the canals and spill out of trash cans on the majestic Piazza San Marco. Because Venice has no roads, trash must be collected on foot at enormous expense. And while plastic bottles can in principle be recycled, the process still unleashes greenhouse gases.   Three years ago Venice created Veritas, a municipal umbrella company that is responsible both for city water and for trash collection in the region. Officials of the new company realized that by promoting the former, they could reduce the latter.  In terms of trash reduction, the Acqua Veritas campaign has already been a success, Venetian officials calculate, reducing the amount of plastic trash over all to 261 tons a month now from 288 tons a year ago.  Officials also took a leaf from the advertising playbook that has helped make bottled water a multibillion-dollar global industry. They invented a lofty brand name for Venice’s tap water — Acqua Veritas — created a sleek logo and emblazoned it on stylish carafes that were distributed free to households.  New York Times_6/12/09

Water bottled from a rare Maine spring goes back in history for its new look

Summit Spring water had been sold for medicinal uses since the 1870s when the Summit Hill House in Harrison, Maine, opened. Now owner Bryan Pullen is going back to the 1930s for a retro label featuring a bald eagle on a brown bottle. Summit Spring water comes from a natural, free-flowing spring close to the summit of a 900-foot hill that is considered the highest point in Cumberland County. The water bubbles up through bedrock in the 80-year-old fieldstone and shaker spring house and is gravity fed to the nearby bottling facility. There is no pump; there are no bore drillings. Geologists believe the spring is a rare bedrock fracture in which 35 million gallons of water bubble out each year from perhaps as deep as 1,000 feet straight down. It is only one of two operating water bottling companies that is allowed to carry the state of Maine's "Premium Grade" designation, meaning it has met strict quality and testing standards, and the first and only bottled-water company allowed membership in the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, Pullen said. The water is so pure, he said, that there is no requirement to put a nutrient label on the bottle. "There are very few places on Earth like this spot," Pullen said. "It's a geological phenomenon." Sun-Journal_ 6/8/09

Federal judge extends delay of New York bottled water bill until April, 2010

U.S. District Judge Thomas P. Griesa delayed implementation of a new New York bottled water law for nearly a year to give bottlers and others time to comply with the changes. The law adds bottled water to the list of beverage containers with a five-cent refundable deposit. The law, enacted in April, was scheduled to take effect yesterday, but last week the judge temporarily delayed it at the request of the bottled water industry which said it only had been given a few weeks to make significant changes in labels and other requirements. The judge on May 27 also ruled a delay was necessary because it was likely the new law violated the U.S. Constitution's sections on interstate commerce. AP_ 6/2/09

International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) commends judge for delaying New York Bottled Water Bill

"We are pleased and relieved that the Court recognized how impossible it would be for local, national and international bottled water companies to comply with the requirements of the new law by the June 1, 2009 deadline, which comes just weeks after passage of the bill," said IBWA President and CEO Joseph Doss in a news release. According to Doss, "IBWA members are unable to prepare for all these complex requirements in such a short time (less than 60 days after the law was passed). The original law provided the soft drinks and beer industries 15 months to comply with a far simpler system than the recently enacted changes."  News Release_ 5/28/09

Judge temporarily blocks NY water deposit law

A federal judge on Wednesday temporarily blocked a new law requiring return deposits on water bottles sold in New York state, calling the law unconstitutional.  U.S. District Judge Thomas P. Griesa issued an order that will stop enforcement of the law while water bottlers work to have it changed.  Griesa said in court that a provision of the law requiring that water bottles carry special labels to help ensure they are sold only in New York violates the U.S. Constitution's commerce clause.  The judge said the water bottlers "not only have a likelihood of success, they are sure of success as a matter of law" in their challenge of the new law.  Newsday.com_5/28/09

International Bottled Water Association files federal law suit to block sections of New York's bottled water bill

WaterWebster.org Staff Report

Updated May 23, 2009

Republish this story at no cost; to learn how, click here

The International Bottled Water Assn. (IBWA), two of its leading members and environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., owner of a small water bottling company, have filed a federal law suit against the state of New York to block parts of the state's new bottled water law. Backers of the suit, including Nestle Waters North America, Inc., Massachusett-based bottler, Polar Corporation, better known as Polar Beverages, and Kennedy, owner of Keeper Springs, a Honesdale, Pennsylvania, bottler,  argue the pending law unfairly applies to plain bottled water but exempts water with sugar added. Such products include teas and sports drinks. In addition, they said it interferes with interstate commerce and may actually hurt recycling efforts rather than help them. The suit, filed May 19 in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, also argues that New York didn't give bottlers enough time to comply with the law. It was enacted in April as an expansion of an existing New York "Bottle Bill," and takes effect June 1. (read full story)

Voters in Wells, Maine, reject ban on water bottlers using aquifers

Voters rejected a proposed ordinance Saturday that would have banned companies such as Poland Spring from extracting water from town aquifers. The Wells vote is the first defeat in Maine for the Chambersburg, Pa.-based Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, which promotes a "rights-based" approach for protecting ecosystems. Shapleigh and Newfield had adopted similar ordinances earlier this year. About 650 residents squeezed into the Wells Elementary School gymnasium for the special town meeting vote. The proposal came about after the Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Wells Water District considered a plan to sell water to Poland Spring, the bottled-water company owned by Nestle Waters North America Inc. A 30-year contract would have allowed Poland Spring to buy as much as 432,000 gallons of excess capacity daily for $900,000 a year. The district's trustees tabled the plan indefinitely last summer in response to public opposition. Portland Press-Herald_ 5/17/09

Minnesota first state to ban sale of baby bottles and sippy cups with BPA

Several other states are considering a ban on bisphenol-A or BPA, which has been proposed at the federal level as well. Environmentalists continue to quarrel with the chemical industry over the risks of BPA, which can mimic and disrupt the body's normal hormone functions. The U.S. National Toxicology Program and a National Institutes of Health panel found "some concern" over BPA's potential to harm child development. The American Chemistry Council has argued that a ban is unwarranted given the existing safety research and the fact that BPA has been used in plastics manufacturing for decades. The nation's largest baby bottle manufacturers are phasing the chemical out of their products. Chemical maker Sunoco announced last month that it will no longer sell BPA to companies if they intend to use it in food containers for children. Pioneer-Press_ 5/8/09

New York governor bans bottled water for state agencies

Gov. David Paterson said "everything to do" with bottled water is "environmentally unfriendly" - from the pollution generated by transporting it to the addition to the waste stream that the empty bottles create. The governor's communications director, Peter Kauffmann, said the bottled water ban won't go into effect until an alternative source of clean water is identified for public employees to drink. The tap water in the Capitol is potable, but apparently it's going to be tested - just to make sure. New York Daily News_ 5/5/09

Pepsi Bottling Group rejects PepsiCo purchase offer

Pepsi Bottling Group Inc.’s board rejected as “grossly inadequate” PepsiCo Inc.’s cash-and-stock proposal for a remaining stake in the company, leaving PepsiCo to consider a higher bid. PepsiCo offered about $6 billion for Pepsi Bottling Group and PepsiAmericas Inc., its two biggest bottlers, on April 20, representing a 17 percent premium over the two distributors’ previous closing share prices. PepsiAmericas said today it’s still reviewing the offer. Bloomberg_ 5/4/09

Tests show no problem with bottled water at California school

Tests on the bottles of water that allegedly made La Mesa Junior High School students sick have found no contaminants in the water, a Los Angeles County health official said Friday. Tests performed looked for chemicals, heavy metals and microbacteria like E. Coli, he said. Along with the tests run by the Los Angeles County Sanitation Laboratory, the California Department of Health Services visited the bottling plant in Torrance. Inspections found nothing of concern, he said. County health officials visited an Aquafina warehouse where bottled water is stored and found no problems or unusual conditions, he said. The problems with bottled water began after a La Mesa student purchased a bottle of Aquafina water out of an on-campus vending machine April 23 and later experienced stomach cramps. Santa Clarita Valley Signal_ 5/1/09

North Carolina bottled water company uses profits to dig wells in Africa

A company based in Clemmons, North Carolina, sells Zao Water. Zao is a Greek word meaning "to live," and it's giving life to the people in countries throughout Africa. Matt Peterson said he wanted to help bring clean water to the people, so he started the company. The company sells bottled water and then uses any profits to drill wells in Africa. So far, the company has sold enough bottles to pay for 60 wells. WXII_ 5/1/09

U.S. delays tariffs on Italian mineral water, other products

United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced Wednesday that the U.S. would delay imposing a number of additional duties on European Union products, including a 100-percent tariff on Italian mineral water. That tariff was scheduled to be implemented Thursday. In a press release issued Wednesday, Kirk cited "recent signs of progress in negotiations with the EU" and said the U.S. will hold off on any trade action until May 9, in hopes of negotiating a settlement. Chicago Tribune_ 4/22/09

Italian restaurants in Chicago protest U.S. financial sanctions against Italian mineral water

More than 60 of Chicago's Italian restaurants have signed a petition requesting sanctions against Italian mineral water, scheduled to take effect Thursday, be suspended. The sanctions comprise a 100 percent import duty on Italian mineral water and, according to a release from the Italian American Chamber of Commerce-Midwest, effectively doubling its price. The sanctions are part of a U.S. effort to pressure Europe to restart negotiations on U.S. hormone beef which the EU currently prohibits. The new sanctions apply only to mineral water from Italy, while other European mineral waters remain sanction-free. Sanctions were applied to different goods from other nations. Italy currently produces 12 percent of the world's mineral water, 40 percent of which is exported to the United States. STNG/CBS2_ 4/21/09

Florida legislative committee kills proposed tax on bottled water

The House Finance and Tax Council voted down a bill amendment to apply the state's 6-cent sales tax to bottled water. The water-tax concept first gained attention in February when a version appeared in Gov. Charlie Crist's budget plan for 2009-2010. Crist proposed applying a severance tax to the extraction of water by commercial water-bottlers, raising more than $50 million. Environmentalists welcomed the idea, but the beverage industry lobbied strongly against all of the water-tax proposals this spring. Monday, Rep. Jim Waldman, D-Coconut Creek, proposed applying the tax only to water purchases up to 1 gallon, in an effort to hold harmless people who buy larger volumes out of necessity. That proposal failed as well. Tampa Tribune_ 4/20/09

Nestle sells Russian bottled water company Saint Sprint to IDS Group

IDS Group is the bottler for Borjomi, the Georgian carbonated mineral water. According to Nestle, its bottled water business was the only division which had not generated enough in revenue and was the sole Nestle business to mark a decline in sales in the year 2008. This prompted Nestle to make an assessment of the situation on this regard, and, in February, Nestle announced that it had decided to cut down investment in its bottled water business. Nestle acquired Saint Springs in 2002. No financial details of the sale were released. FoodBizDaily_  4/17/09

Los Angeles County supervisors give up bottled water with custom labels

Los Angeles County supervisors gave up their bottled water this week -- trading individual plastic bottles emblazoned with the county seal for paper cups and old-fashioned carafes filled with iced tap water. The move came a week after The Times reported that a student worker peeled the labels off individual water bottles, used a computer to print out custom labels and slapped them on. County officials said it took the worker, who earns $9.92 an hour for a range of duties, only a minute to complete the task. But some county employes pointed out that supervisors have ordered cuts in recent months that ended bottled water perks for other county workers.  Los Angeles Times_ 4/9/09

Out West, a new kind of (bottled) water war

Nestle's bid to tap spring launches opposition

In rural Chaffee County, Colo., Nestle Waters North America wants to tap an aquifer feeding a pair of springs near Salida, southwest of Colorado Springs, and draw 65 million gallons of water per year to bottle and sell under its Arrowhead brand.  But many mountain residents say Nestle should go bottle someone else's water.  "I'm afraid they will pump and pump until they suck it dry," said Michele Riggio, a Salida physical therapist who has led the opposition.  As companies like Nestle, which operates 50 spring sites around the country, seek to acquire new water sources, communities have increasingly resisted, said Noah Hall, a law professor at Wayne State University in Detroit and an expert in water law.  Because a good supply of spring water isn't easy to come by, Nestle and other companies are reluctant to let one go without a fight, Hall said. Such conflicts usually wind up in court, where he said judges rarely denied water companies the right to at least some water.  "The opponents don't usually come away satisfied. They want to run them out of town, and that almost never happens," Hall said. Los Angeles Times_4/2/09

New York budget deal adds nickel deposits to bottled water

The budget deal struck over the weekend in Albany restores money to New York's Environmental Protection Fund, expands nickel deposits to include bottled water and eliminates a proposed freeze on some state property tax payments. The Legislature will be voting this week on the $131.8 billion plan. The 2009-2010 fiscal year begins Wednesday. Bottling companies and supermarkets lobbied against adding bottled water to the list of beverages requiring a nickel deposit, saying it would drive up their costs and raise prices. Under the compromise measure, the state would get 80 percent of unclaimed deposits, projected to generate $115 million for its general fund the first year. Bottlers now keep unclaimed deposits. Also, the handling fee they pay would rise from 2 to 3.5 cents per container. AP/Newsday_ 3/30/09

Bottled water sexes up snails

Polycarbonate water bottles have received plenty of bad press for releasing potentially toxic compounds into unsuspecting drinkers, but there may be another culprit: everyday plastic packaging. A German study of commercially-available bottled water found contamination by chemicals that mimic natural sex hormones. When the researchers raised snails in the water, they bred with extreme rapidity — a warning sign that the chemicals were active. Contamination levels were twice as high in brands packaged in plastic instead of glass, suggesting that plastic was the culprit. The study, "Endocrine disruptors in bottled mineral water: total estrogenic burden and migration from plastic bottles" by Martin Wagner and Jörg Oehlmann was published in Environmental Science and Pollution Research, Vol. 16 No. 2, March 2009. Wired_ 3/27/09

Eau dear: Party turns flat for French bottled water

The land that gave the world Perrier, Evian and Vittel is turning its back on bottled water, preferring instead to get the stuff from the tap. Cost-cutting at a time of austerity but also the successful efforts of campaign groups about the snobbery and environmental cost of bottled water are hitting sales. Sales of bottled water in France fell in volume by 7.5 per cent to 5.2 billion litres in 2008 over 2007, and retreated in value by 4.6 per cent to 1.6 billion ($3 billion), according to market monitor ACNielsen. Until the crunch, the French ranked behind Italy as the biggest consumers of bottled water in the world, guzzling 130 litres of it per person per year. Europe's biggest filter manufacturer, Brita of Germany, which says it has 76 per cent of the French market, reported an increase in French sales of 25 per cent last year. New Zealand Herald_ 3/26/09

Pepsi to cut amount of plastic in its U.S. water bottles

PepsiCo Inc. is reducing the amount of plastic it uses to package its bottled water in the U.S., the latest step by a beverage company to portray itself as environmentally conscious as sales of bottled water slip. The new half-liter (16.9-oz.) bottle for Aquafina, the largest U.S. bottled-water brand, weighs about 20% less than the one it is replacing, making it one of the lightest among bottled-water brands in the U.S. The Purchase, N.Y., company and its competitors have been besieged by criticism about environmental waste created by bottling a drink that people can get from the tap. Only 24.6% of polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, plastic bottles used for soda, water and other products are recycled in the U.S., according to the National Association for PET Container Resources, an industry group. Many consumers are also cutting down on bottled-water consumption and turning to the tap to save money. U.S. bottled water sales slipped 0.4% in 2008 following years of double-digit growth, according to Beverage Digest, an industry publication. Wall Street Journal_ 3/25/09

Pepsi commits to Human Rights to Water

In its statement, Pepsi notes "the United Nations defines the Human Right to Water as all people’s right to safe, sufficient, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic use." The company said it is committed to supporting governments which preserve the Human Right to Water of individuals in the communities where our company operates, and advocating this right more broadly through our strategic approaches across the enterprise. News Release_ 3/22/09

Bills for bottled water jump at Los Angeles, California, city hall

Three years after Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said city departments should not spend taxpayer money on bottled water, several municipal agencies have increased their purchases of it, according to a report released Tuesday. City Controller Laura Chick found that 13 city departments spent more than $184,000 last year on water. Villaraigosa spokesman Matt Szabo called the water use "unacceptable," saying all future bottled water purchases at City Hall will have to be approved by the mayor's office. "We're in a budget crisis and cannot afford to waste even a single dollar," he said. Los Angeles Times_ 3/18/09

Aquamantra teams with ENSO Bottles to become first water in 100% biodegradable bottles

WaterWebster.org Staff Report

March 10, 2009

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California-based Aquamantra water will be the first corporation to use 100% biodegradable bottles that manufacturer ENSO Bottles will make available this spring, according to an Aquamantra announcement. The bottles also can be recycled into other products.

The goal, said Aquamantra founder and president Alexandra Teklak, is to cut the amount of non-degradable plastic in landfills, an issue that a number of cities have cited in removing bottled water from government offices.

Only a year old, ENSO Bottles of  Phoenix, Ariz., was created, according to its web site, "through the collaborated effort of bottle manufactures looking to provide earth friendly PET bottling solutions."

ENSO Bottles, according to Teresa Clark, vice president of sales and marketing, are 100% biodegradable, decompose in about five years and add only "pennies" to the cost of a bottle of water or other product. Like traditional PET bottles, the ENSO bottles also can be recycled into other products. And they don't need special treatment. They can be mixed in with PET bottles and recycled.

Aquamantra is the first company to announce it will use ENSO Bottles, said Clark, but the company has orders for 2.5 billion from other corporations. Read the full story

Florida water bottlers support sales tax to ward off fee for using state's water

Lobbyists for the bottled water industry are offering an olive branch in the impending tax fight over their product: a sales tax. They're agreeing to let lawmakers remove the exemption on bottled water and impose the state's 6-cents sales tax on every bottle of water sold. The hitch: The sales tax would be paid in lieu of the governor's plan to impose a 6-cents severance tax on every gallon of water used for bottled water. St. Petersburgh Times_ 3/5/09

Florida governor seeks per-gallon water fee from bottlers

Gov. Charlie Crist is proposing a 6-cents-a-gallon state tax on water pumped from state resources and used for commercial water-bottling purposes. Florida has about two dozen water bottlers, including Nestle Waters of North America, Coca-Cola and Pepsi Co. The so-called "severance fee'' would be phased in, producing an estimated $56 million the first year, according to the governor's office. The money would be used to finance water projects like desalination plants and other alternatives to traditional water supplies. Jim McClellan, spokesman for Nestle's Florida operations, said bottled water has become essential when pipes are ruptured, there's a boil water order or a hurricane cuts off a community water source. "It makes no sense to take the healthiest packaged beverage on the market today, subject it to an onerous tax and not apply it to any other beverage," McClellan said. Miami Herald_ 3/2/09

Shapleigh, Maine residents vote to ban companies from drawing or selling water from its aquifer

During a special town meeting Saturday morning, residents voted 114 to 66 to adopt the ban drafted by Protecting Our Water and Wildlife Resources, which had opposed Nestle's Poland Spring's efforts to test, draw, bottle and market the town's water. The ban had been opposed by the town's Board of Selectmen, which had favored instead a set of regulations on drawing water. Mark Dubois, natural resource manager for Poland Spring, said he was disappointed by the vote at the special town meeting. In September, residents adopted a six-month moratorium on water testing, which was seen as a precursor to Poland Spring's plans to set up a pumping operation. Dubois said the company draws water from nine sites in the state now and has sufficient supplies of water for its current needs. Portland Press Herald_ 3/1/09

February, 2009

Coca-Cola and its biggest Latin America bottler buy Brisa bottled water business

The Coca-Cola Co. and Coca-Cola FEMSA, its biggest bottler in Latin America, said Friday they have closed on their $92 million acquisition of Brisa, a bottled water company. The two companies bought Brisa from Bavaria, a Colombia-based subsidiary of SABMiller. Coca-Cola Co. is the world's biggest beverage maker. AP_ 2/27/09

Now by-the-bottle: New York City's tap water is so good it's being bottled--openly

In the five months since he started his company, Craig Zucker, the 29-year-old founder of Tap'd NY, has proved his hunch: People are willing to pay for New York City tap water, and not just in monthly utility bills. New York City water is, after all, one of the nation's healthiest water supplies -- so fresh that in 2007 the Environmental Protection Agency said it did not need filtration. Studies, including one by the Natural Resources Defense Council in San Francisco, have found that most bottled water sold in stores is essentially tap water extracted from aquifers, lakes and springs. To protect the environment from gasoline emissions and other damage from long distance shipping, Zucker sells Tap'd NY only in the New York area. Los Angeles Times_ 2/25/09

Florida senator proposes sales tax on bottled water

State Sen. Evelyn Lynn, R-Ormond Beach, has proposed taxing bottled water, which has been exempt from the state sales tax for 60 years. Should it pass, the levy would only provide a drop in the bucket for a state facing a recession-driven budget shortfall that Lynn estimated at $2 billion for the fiscal year that ends June 30. Ending the six-decade-old exemption for bottled water would raise an estimated $42.3 million, according to the Florida Department of Revenue. "We need sources of income, and bottled water is a luxury," said Lynn, whose district includes Silver Springs Shores and parts of eastern Ocala. Ocala.com_ 2/16/09

Maine lawmakers mull water sale restrictions
A legislative panel is weighing a proposal to require water utilities to hold a referendum and public hearings before entering into ''extraordinary'' agreements to sell water to commercial operators such as bottlers.  The bill aired Tuesday before the Utilities and Energy Committee is the first of several that were inspired by recent disputes between water bottlers and local residents concerned about the sustainability of their water supply.  Supporters said the referendum and hearings would ensure the public a say in such matters.  Water utilities warned of unanticipated consequences, saying the requirement could encumber water districts from selling to each other. Utility managers and trustees, who are often elected, also said most of their decision-making processes are already transparent.  Bangor Daily News_2/11/09

Coca-Cola to close Dasani plant near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. has announced it plans to close a Dasani water bottling production line in Washington County, Pennsylvania. Company spokesman Percy Wells said Wednesday that the Washington plant served 22 states at one time, but as consumers decreased spending on bottled water, and Coke's other facilities expanded capacity, it was more efficient for the company to close the plant. Pittsburgh Business Times_ 2/4/09

January, 2009

UK businessman fined for using tap, not Blenheim Palace mineral water in bottles

A businessman has been fined £6,000 for selling bottled water as being from mineral springs at Blenheim Palace when it could have come from a spring at his Welsh farm or the factory's tap. Ralph Searl, 57, admitted charges under the trades description act and was also told to pay costs of £65,000. BBC_ 1/26/09

Irish food safety chief delayed report on adulterated water

Senior executives of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) sought to soften a report showing high levels of contamination of bottled waters before its publication, according to documentation released under freedom of information legislation. The authority’s chief executive, Dr John O’Brien, delayed publication of the report, leading staff to conclude it had been placed “on the back burner”, the documents obtained by The Irish Times show. Dr O’Brien argued that the report needed scientific revision and independent peer review. However, his deputy, Alan Reilly, expressed concern about the delay and pointed out that there had been widespread consultation during the drafting of the report. The Irish Times_ 1/20/09

Coke sued over vitaminwater's health claims
The Coca-Cola Company is being sued over allegations that it made fraudulent claims on its vitaminwater line of beverages, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).  CPSI, which filed the class-action lawsuit, says the product claims are "deceptive and unsubstantiated."   "Coke markets vitaminwater as a healthful alternative to soda by labeling its several flavors with such health buzz words as “defense,” “rescue,” “energy,” and “endurance," CPSI charged. ”The company makes a wide range of dramatic claims, including that its drinks variously reduce the risk of chronic disease, reduce the risk of eye disease, promote healthy joints, and support optimal immune function.  "In fact, according to CSPI nutritionists, the 33 grams of sugar in each bottle of vitaminwater do more to promote obesity, diabetes, and other health problems than the vitamins in the drinks do to perform the advertised benefits listed on the bottles." Coke, a frequent CSPI target, called the lawsuit, "ridicululous" and said filing a lawsuit was a "cheap, opportunistic public relations stunt."  Chicago Tribune_1/15/09

New Zealand's Charlie's Group launches 'Honest Water'

Charlie’s latest product initiative is doing its bit for the environment through the use of a new bottle made from plants. The bottle for Charlie’s Honest Water, dubbed the ‘Eco-Bottle’, is made from Polylactide or PLA for short. Developed with the assistance of Good Water, New Zealand’s first PLA water bottle, Charlie’s Honest Water ‘Eco-Bottle’ offers a packaging alternative made from renewable and sustainable resources - plants. This is unlike traditional PET plastic water bottles which are derived from oil, a non–renewable and non-sustainable resource. News Release_ 1/13/09

 

 

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