Caring about the environment is patriotic.
February 11th, 2010
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.
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.
Do this now: Buy a reusable water bottle. I like Klean Kanteen.