Bottled water industry answering

Spokesman for Nestle Waters takes issue with submission from Castlegar United Church

I read with interest the letter to the editor written by Rosemary Manarin that appeared in the April 12, 2012, edition of the Castlegar News entitled, “United Church calling – Respect for creation.”

While I studiously avoid he said-she said debates in the pages of local newspapers, Ms. Manarin’s commentary requires a response.

In her correspondence, Ms. Manarin has based her objections to bottled water on information that has long been confirmed as false – mythology one typically finds on anti-bottled water activists’ websites.

For example, Health Canada regulations for bottled water must be as strong and protective of public health as provincial regulations for tap water. However, News readers need not take my word for it, nor Ms. Manarin’s for that matter. When it comes to the quality, safety or regulation of bottled water, they can get the facts by simply visiting the Health Canada website (www.hc-sc.gc.ca). There, they will also learn that, given that BPA is not used in the production of plastic beverage containers, there is no leaching of plastic compounds into bottled water.

With respect to global warming, independent research firm Quantis International (www.quantis-intl.com) found that bottled water has the lightest carbon footprint of any bottled beverage, whether measured by water use, petroleum product use or greenhouse gas emissions. The average bottle of water travels about 250 km. from source to shelf. That compares to 2,400 to 3,200 km. for fresh fruit and vegetables and most consumer packaged goods, according to Washington agricultural consultant Dan Murphy.

Contrary to Ms. Manarin’s comment that landfills have been “engorged with plastic bottles,” the recovery rate for plastic beverage containers averaged almost 80 per cent in B.C. last year, according to industry steward Encorp Pacific (www.return-it.ca). The diversion rate was almost 70 per cent nationally last year. The beverage industry is working with governments and consumers across Canada to improve these recycling rates through new and innovative recycling practices like public spaces recycling. For example, a successful pilot program just concluded in Richmond. Plastic beverage containers, including bottled water, account for less than 1/5th of one per cent of the waste stream. If the bottled water industry ceased operations tomorrow, there would be no appreciable reduction in the amount of refuse going to landfill.

As of February 11, 2012, about 95 pwr cent of bottled water sold in Canada emanated from deep springs on private property, whereas less than five per cent came from municipal sources, according to independent market research firm Nielsen Research (www.nielson.com). Nielsen also reported that 95 per cent of bottled water is sold in bulk through grocery stores at about 17 cents a bottle or 34 cents a litre. Regular gasoline is averaging $1.35 a litre, at this writing.

In closing, no independent scientific research exists to support any of the criticisms leveled against bottled water by Ms. Manarin.

Sincerely,

JC

John B. Challinor II   APRDirector of Corporate AffairsNestlé Waters Canada101 Brock Road SouthGuelph, Ontario N1H 6H9