Wow. Dasani (or Coca-Cola, I should say) is really working hard to make you feel OK about drinking filtered tap water out of a plastic bottle. I caught sight of a new Dasani PlantBottle ad in the March issue of Glamour, and there’s one thing I have to give the company credit for: effective advertising.

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Lovingly caressed in the dewy leaf of a plant and topped off with a bright green plastic cap, even I was momentarily seduced by the seemingly pristine looking bottle. That’s a bold step for a company as large and mainstream as Coca-Cola, I thought.

Wait a second. This is water I could get from my tap. For free. And it’s served up in a plastic bottle. The PlantBottle may be manufactured from 30 percent sugar cane-based plastic, but this is still a completely unnecessary product. The Dasani website boasts a new section entitled “Eco-Living,” but there is absolutely nothing eco about this.

At best, it’s a small improvement for an incredibly wasteful industry. The plant material supposedly reduces the bottle’s carbon emissions by 25 percent, but consider that the bottled water industry produces more than 2.5 million tons of CO2 a year. And that it takes three liters of water to produce every single liter of Dasani. I suppose you could also argue that using plants for plastic lessens our dependence on foreign oil, but you know what else would lessen our dependence on foreign oil? Not having a bottled water industry.

An advantage of a lot of the new plant-based plastics is that they’re compostable, which helps cut down on pollution (e.g., the Great Pacific Garbage Patch). This Dasani PlantBottle can only be recycled though, since the remaining 70 percent is still made from good old-fashioned petroleum-based plastic. Too bad only about 20 percent of the 34.6 billion single-serving plastic water bottles bought in the US every year actually make it to the recycling plant.

I apologize for the rant, but nothing revs me up more than a massive case of greenwashing. Is it great that green has reached a critical enough mass that Dasani’s customers would even care about a plant-based plastic bottle? Of course. The bottled water industry isn’t going to disappear overnight; isn’t it better that Dasani is using 30 percent less petroleum-based plastic? Sure. But the model wearing a T-shirt on the Dasani website that says “Make Your Plastic Fantastic” is where I draw the line. No wonder she’s hiding her face.

–Jennifer Grayson

Do this now: Buy a reusable water bottle. I like Klean Kanteen.

Related posts:
Greenwashing alert: Baja Fresh
Avoiding bottled water at the airport

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8 Responses to “The Dasani PlantBottle: Can you feel less guilty about drinking bottled water?”

  1. Marcia Says:

    The rant is a good one. Are the doing the same for their other drink products…the ones we get just get from the tap? If so, that would be a big step…and not smack quite so much of greenwashing. If not, why not?

  2. Christy Says:

    You are so funny and completely right! Damn if Coca Cola isn’t trying to ruin the world.

    Bottled water is one of my biggest pet peeves and when I see people buying cases of it at Trader Joes I want to…scream ;)

  3. Jennifer Grayson Says:

    You know what else used to make me scream at TJ’s? Some of the locations would use bottled water to fill up the water dispensing jug for the customers. They’d go through cases a day, just so customers could have a drink while they were shopping. I started calling locations and talking to store managers to do some investigating for a story, and within a week, my local TJ’s had installed a filtered tap water system. Very mysterious…

  4. Natalia Says:

    Sing it, sister!

    Coca-Cola has no goddamn shame.

  5. Gina-MarieCheeseman.com » Blog Archive » Eco-friendly Bottled Water is a Misnomer Says:

    [...] water industry produces over 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide a year. It takes three liters of water to produce every liter of Dasani. Only 20 percent of the 34.6 billion plastic water bottles [...]

  6. Ad Post: Dasani PlantBottle Plantable Print Ad « Amy in Wonderland by Amy Yen Says:

    [...] for Coca-Cola, who will now start adapting PlantBottle for its other brands. The program is being watched closely, as the bottled water industry has long been criticized for its environmental impact, highlighted [...]

  7. Wes Says:

    I was excited when I first saw these bottles, then I thought about the wording, “up to 30%” also means “less than 30%”. It’s easy to glance at the bottle and assume it means it’s made of at least 30% plant-based plastic, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the actual organic content is closer to just above 0%.

  8. Jennifer Grayson Says:

    And don’t forget about the additional oil it takes to turn those plants into plastic! Greenwashing at its worst–

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