October 10, 2007

Corporate Accountability International (CAI) today is holding events in a number of cities across the United States in an attempt to sway consumers and government organizations from choosing bottled water as their beverage-of-choice. The CAI campaign is based on factual errors and subjective viewpoints on bottled water and does nothing more than confuse and misinform consumers. Bottled water is comprehensively regulated as a packaged food product by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and state regulatory agencies. The current system of bottled water regulation provides consumers with outstanding bottled water safety, quality and public health protection.

CAI strives to frame the issue as a "bottled water versus tap water debate," thereby missing the point. Many consumers drink both bottled water and tap water depending on the circumstances; it does not always amount to a tap water versus bottled water choice. Consumers are not uniformly replacing tap water with bottled water; they are also drinking other beverages available at the store and home. Consumers across the United States choose bottled water as an alternative to other packaged beverages when they want to avoid or moderate calories, caffeine, sugar, artificial flavors or colors, alcohol and other ingredients. Or, they choose bottled water because they prefer its taste.

The bottled water industry, like many others in the food and beverage industry, works to reduce its environmental footprint. For example, the bottled water industry is using lighter-weight plastics for its containers (the amount of resin needed has been reduced by almost 40 percent over five years) and is utilizing more fuel efficient means of transporting the product to market. In addition, bottled water is one of thousands of packaged foods and beverages used by consumers every day; bottled water containers are fully recyclable and should be properly recycled through whatever system a local municipality has in place. Despite their popularity, PET water bottles account for less than one-third of one percent of all waste produced in the US in 2005. Any efforts or actions that discourage consumer use of this beneficial product are not in the public interest.

Rather than focusing on one beverage choice, it would make more sense for consumers and government officials to focus on improving curbside recycling rates for all consumer packaging. IBWA strongly encourages container recycling and encourages officials to provide citizens with easy and efficient opportunities to help ensure that they are properly recycled.

IBWA commends municipalities for providing safe drinking water to its citizens and stands ready to work with government officials across the country to address the need for safe drinking water for healthy communities. However, the CAI campaign only encourages an unnecessary and confusing "bottled water versus tap water" debate.

IBWA stands ready to work with government officials to address the need for safe drinking water for healthy communities.

Consumers can remain confident in making bottled water their beverage of choice. The bottled water industry will continue to work closely with FDA and state agencies to help ensure that consumers have access to safe, high-quality bottled water.