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Niagara Water Recalls Some Bottled Waters Due to E. Coli

Niagara Water Recalls Some Bottled Waters Due to E. Coli

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The bottled waters may be contaminated with E. coli

Thinkstock Photos

Niagara Water is recalling water bottled at their Pennsylvania facility.

EDIT: All Niagara water bottles are being recalled, not just Wegmans brand bottles. The company posted this statement on their website, noting that all water bottles manufactured at the Pennsylvania facility are in danger of E. Affected brands include Acadia, Acme, Big Y, Best Yet, 7-11, Niagara, Nature’s Place, PriceRite, Super Chill, Morning Fresh, Shaws, Shoprite, Western Beef Blue, and Wegmans.

If you’ve bought a bottle of Wegmans Food You Feel Good About Spring Water recently, you might need to return it.

According to WENY, the bottled waters may have been contaminated with E. coli, a bacteria that can cause cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, and even kidney failure. Affected products have a “Niagara Bottling LLC” label on them and best buy dates of June 10, 2016 through June 18, 2016.

Single 16.9-ounce bottles and 12-, 24-, and 35-packs are being recalled. No illnesses have been reported.

Customers who return these bottles will be issued a full refund. For more information, call Wegmans Consumer Affairs at 1-855-934-3663.

How Nasty Is Your Bottled Water?

Thanks for visiting As of October 2017, Consumerist is no longer producing new content, but feel free to browse through our archives. Here you can find 12 years worth of articles on everything from how to avoid dodgy scams to writing an effective complaint letter. Check out some of our greatest hits below, explore the categories listed on the left-hand side of the page, or head to for ratings, reviews, and consumer news.

How Nasty Is Your Bottled Water?

7.6.11 4:00 PM EDT By Ben Popken

Does your bottled water taste funny? It’s not just that it’s probably only tapwater. Environmental Working Group rated 173 brands of bottled water based on their sourcing information, purification, testing, and how transparent the information on their label and website was. Turns out, some of the biggest brands in bottled water are, well, a little murky.

Only three brands took high marks, the most well-known of which is Nestle Pure Life Purified Water. On a scale of A to F, where F is failing, the Nestle water got a B. Fiji only got a C, and both Dasani and Poland Spring got a D.

Better work on including more sources in your papers next time, guys! Your bibliography is too skinny.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.

14 Brands Of Bottled Water Voluntarily Recalled Due To Potential E. Coli Contamination

“E. coli are bacteria whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes," a representative of Niagara Bottling LLC said in a statement. "Microbes in these wastes can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. They may pose a special health risk for infants, young children, some of the elderly and people with severely compromised immune systems."

The recall affected all spring water products from Niagra's Hamburg and Allentown, Pennsylvania, facilities. There haven't been any reported injuries or illnesses related to the recall, but the company has terminated its relationship with the independent source Far Away Spring in Auburn, Pennsylvania and continues its operations at the Hamburg and Allentown plants with spring water from other sources.

The recall includes all spring water products purchased between June 10 at 3 a.m. and June 18 at 8 p.m. from the two Pennsylvania operations, and the brands affected are: Acadia, Acme, Big Y, Best Yet, 7-Eleven, Niagara, Nature’s Place, Pricerite, Superchill, Morning Fresh, Shaws, ShopRite, Western Beef Blue and Wegmans. Stores recalling the water bottles alongside Niagara Bottling include Wegmans, ShopRite, 7-Eleven and Acme.

The affected products have codes beginning with the letter F (for Hamburg) or A (for Allentown). The first digit after that letter refers to its number in the production line. The following numbers and letters reveal the day, month, year and time the product was completed. View a list of the recalled lots with case codes and best-by dates here.

Niagara Bottling has completed product testing and did not find any contaminants or related issues, but still recommend boiling their water for one minute and cooling it to kill potential bacteria and other organisms in the water before drinking it, or avoiding it altogether if possible. They are offering consumers a full refund for their affected products upon return.

The company requests that you contact them with further questions about the recall at (877) 487-7873.

Correction: Due to an editing error, a previous version of this article stated that the company vowed to move their operations permanently when, in fact, the company has terminated its relationship with the independent source Far Away Spring in Auburn, Pennsylvania. It continues its operations at its plants in Hamburg and Allentown with spring water from other sources.

Spot Testing 3 Brands

For this report, CR decided to commission its own independent spot tests for three brands that the FDA had previously flagged for elevated arsenic levels—the Starkey Whole Foods brand, and also Peñafiel (owned by Keurig Dr Pepper) and Jermuk.

The test results show that Whole Foods’ bottled water still has levels of arsenic that approach or exceed the legal federal limit: Three samples tested this month ranged from 9.48 to 9.86 ppb of arsenic a fourth registered 10.1 ppb, just above the federal limit of 10 ppb. The tested bottles of water were purchased in March at retail locations.

In a statement Tuesday, Whole Foods said it had recently conducted an analysis on Starkey samples from the same lot used in the tests that CR commissioned. The company said the tests “show these products are fully compliant with FDA standards for heavy metals.” The company also said it tests "every production run of water before it is sold."

“We would never sell products that do not meet FDA requirements,” the company’s statement said.

At the same time, the Jermuk samples we tested revealed dramatically lower arsenic levels than a government test result indicated in 2009. The result of that earlier test prompted the import alert that remains in effect. CR’s recent test of Jermuk water shows three tested samples averaging about 1.31 ppb, well below the federal threshold and down from the more than 450 ppb the government found in 2009. (The company bottles water at a single plant in Armenia, according to its website. Jermuk didn’t respond to requests for comment.)

All three Peñafiel samples CR tested, however, found arsenic levels well above the 10 ppb limit, registering an average of 18.1 ppb.

Katie Gilroy, spokesperson for Keurig Dr Pepper, says the new internal tests of Peñafiel were conducted after CR’s inquiries, revealing “somewhat elevated levels” consistent with our testing results at about 17 ppb.

“Because the health and safety of our consumers is our top priority, as soon as we received the test results, we took immediate action by stopping production at the Mexico facility in question, working with outside experts, and consulting with the FDA, which is supportive of our action plan,” Gilroy says. (An FDA spokesperson didn’t respond to a request for comment on this subject in time for publication.)

“The independent experts with whom we are working have indicated that there is no health or safety risk to consumers at the current levels, and we have begun remedying the situation by enhancing the filtration system in the plant, which we expect to take two weeks,” Gilroy said. “At that point, we will resume production.”

Gilroy says tests were conducted on products for sale in the U.S. market, “which come from one production location in Mexico.”

The International Bottled Water Association says that any product that doesn’t meet the FDA’s 10 ppb standard for arsenic “should not be allowed to be sold.”

“As with other food products, bottled water that does not meet all applicable laws and regulations is subject to FDA enforcement actions, including recalls, warning letters, and product seizures,” the IBWA says. “This helps ensure that adulterated or mislabeled products do not reach consumers.”

It might be contaminated with E. coli

Certain foods being contaminated with E. coli is (unfortunately) nothing new however, it's news that the potentially deadly bacteria may be lurking in bottled water. A May 2018 government report on West Virginia-based Sweet Springs Valley Water Company showed that several months earlier the brand had bottled and distributed water from a source contaminated with the harmful substance.

To make matters worse, Sweet Springs didn't stop its water production after the bacteria was detected, nor did it conduct any follow-up tests to determine if subsequent water bottles were E.coli-free.

In June 2015, 14 brands of bottled water were voluntarily recalled following a potential E.coli contamination after a water bottling company that supplied the brands discovered that one of its spring water sources tested positive for the bacteria. The brands that were impacted included 7-Eleven, Niagara, ShopRite, and more. If you want to make sure you don't have to experience the 7 Side Effects of Not Drinking Enough Water, perhaps you should opt for tap.

How we ranked

When formulating our bottled water rankings, purity and quality were of the utmost importance.

We sought out products that had been tested by third party or independent laboratories for purity and quality, focusing on two metrics: the presence of trace metal contaminants like lead, cadmium, or mercury, and the presence of organic contaminants like bisphenol A (also known as BPA) and traces of pharmaceutical drugs.

Broadly, we considered three categories of bottled water: first among these was bottled water products focused exclusively on purity.

Here, we put top priority on independent lab testing for trace contaminants. We also carefully examined the type of purification used to filter the water, with reverse osmosis being the preferred method. Highly pure natural sources, such as the glacial runoff in the French Alps used to make Evian bottled water, were also good candidates for bottled water sources in this category.

Next, we selected the best bottled water that contain extra electrolytes, like Propel Electrolyte Water. If you aren’t quite ready for a sports drink or an energy drink , a bottled water with a little bit of electrolytes can help you perform better when you exercise, without the added sugar of the alternatives.

Finally, we also considered high-quality bottled water products that were conscious of their environmental consequences. Here, Boxed Water was the clear winner, with post-consumer recycled paper used to make their cartons (which are also recyclable).

The clear winner in this category, Boxed Water also had the benefit of being BPA-free and disinfected with UV light, so it’s a favorite among survivalists and others who maintain emergency water rations.

Several Brands of Bottled Water Recalled

Niagara Bottling has recalled its bottled water products after one of its spring sources was contaminated with E. coli.

The company urged customers to avoid drinking the water without boiling it first. The water should be boiled for one minute and then cooled.

While it was not immediately clear how widely the products were distributed, several major supermarket chains with stores across the northeast issued releases saying they had carried the water.

E. coli can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches and other symptoms. Niagara says it has not received any complaints of injury or illness.

The company says the contamination was discovered in the water supply on June 10, but the spring source did not notify it in a timely manner, so they have stopped using the source.

The contaminated water was sold under the following brand names:

  • 7-Eleven
  • Acadia
  • Acme
  • Big Y
  • Best Yet
  • Morning Fresh
  • Niagara
  • Nature’s Place
  • Pricerite
  • Shaw’s
  • Shoprite
  • Superchill
  • Western Beef Blue
  • Wegman’s

All spring water products produced at the company’s facilities in Hamburg and Allentown, Pennsylvania between 3 a.m. June 10 to 8 p.m. June 18 were recalled.

Niagara Bottling did not immediately respond to media inquiries, but several supermarkets sent out press releases addressing the recall. Bottled water products were recalled at ACME Markets in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania at Shaw’s grocery stores in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont and at Wegmans grocery stores, which operate in Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Affected products have codes that start with the letter F or A. The first digit after the letter indicates the number of the production line. The next two numbers indicate the day, then the month in letters, the year, and then the time, based on a 24-hour clock.

We found at least 10 Websites Listing below when search with list of bottled water recall on Search Engine

Real Water, a premium bottled water, recalled amid death DA: 19 PA: 50 MOZ Rank: 69

Federal authorities have ordered a complete recall of the Las Vegas-based bottled water brand Real Water and ordered the company to surrender records in investigations of …

Recall: Real Water recalled after FDA warning of liver DA: 16 PA: 50 MOZ Rank: 67

A week after federal and local health officials warned people not to drink Real Water because of a potential link to liver disease, the Las Vegas-based bottled water brand is …

14 Brands Of Bottled Spring Water Recalled Over E. Coli DA: 19 PA: 46 MOZ Rank: 67

  • Niagara Recall Highlights Safety Problems With Bottled Water Food & Water Watch, Washington, DC 20036 / CBS News June 2015 Statement of Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter Washington, D.C
  • - This week‟s recall of 14 brands of bottled water from Niagara Bottling is yet another reminder that bottled water is no safer than water

"Real Water" recalled after it is linked to liver problems DA: 11 PA: 50 MOZ Rank: 64

Federal and local health officials are warning people not to drink a Las Vegas-based bottled water brand, Real Water, after linking it to liver illness in five hospitalized children.

US Enacts 'Real Water' Recall Amid Reports of Death DA: 14 PA: 50 MOZ Rank: 68

Federal authorities have ordered a complete recall of a Las Vegas-based bottled water brand called Real Water and ordered the company to surrender records for …

This Recalled Grocery Item Is Still Being Sold At “A DA: 15 PA: 39 MOZ Rank: 59

  • Get this: Last Monday, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that in the wake of the bottled water recall scandal, some of the company's executives, namely the plant manager and lead technician, had made themselves unavailable for the FDA's investigation
  • Meanwhile, as of last week, at least seven lawsuits had been filed against the brand.

Bottling Company Voluntarily Recalls 14 Brands of Water DA: 14 PA: 50 MOZ Rank: 70

  • Shaw's supermarket, headquartered in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, said specific bottled water products sold at its locations in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont have been recalled
  • The recalled products have "Best By" dates of "08DEC2016" through "16DEC2016," or Dec

Real Water faces lawsuit after 5-year-old girl gets DA: 15 PA: 32 MOZ Rank: 54

Health officials say the "only common link between all the identified cases" was "the consumption of Real Water brand alkaline water." In March, the company announced a nationwide voluntary recall

14 Brands Of Bottled Water Voluntarily Recalled Due To DA: 16 PA: 50 MOZ Rank: 74

  • Stores recalling the water bottles alongside Niagara Bottling include Wegmans, ShopRite, 7-Eleven and Acme
  • The affected products have codes beginning with the letter F (for Hamburg) or A (for Allentown)
  • The first digit after that letter refers to its number in the production line.

U.S. enacts 'Real Water' recall amid reports of death DA: 15 PA: 50 MOZ Rank: 74

Federal authorities have ordered a complete recall of a Las Vegas-based bottled water brand Real Water and ordered the company to surrender records …

14 Bottled Water Brands Recalled For Possible E. Coli DA: 15 PA: 30 MOZ Rank: 55

  • Before you take a sip of your next bottled water, take a good look at the label
  • Niagara Bottling company, based in Pennsylvania, issued a voluntary recall of several of its bottled water brands due to possible E
  • Coli contamination, according to the company’s official statement.
  • The contamination is linked to one of the springs Niagara bottles water from.

How to Check If Your Bottled Water Has Been Recalled Due DA: 14 PA: 50 MOZ Rank: 75

  • Acadia, Acme, Big Y, Best Yet, 7-11, Niagara, Nature’s Place, Pricerite, Superchill, Morning Fresh, Shaw's, Shoprite, Western Beef Blue and Wegmans
  • If your water was bottled by Niagara but not sold under these brands, such as Kirkland, it is not a part of this recall.

Recall of Branded Bottled Waters Due to Elevated Levels of DA: 11 PA: 50 MOZ Rank: 73

  • Arsenic was detected above the legal limit in several branded still and sparkling bottled waters
  • The implicated batches are being recalled from consumers
  • Point-of-sale notices will be displayed in stores supplied with the implicated batches.

Avoid These 22 Brands of Bottled Water That Are Full of

  • Fluoride-Free Water Bottle Companies
  • If you are looking to drink fluoride-free water, invest in a water filtration system (either whole-home or portable) that can filter it out
  • Filling up re-usable stainless-steel water bottles or re-using glass bottles is the best way to …

14 Brands Of Bottled Water Have Been Recalled For E. Coli Risk

  • Niagara Bottling, a California-based bottled water company, is voluntarily recalling 14 brands of water delivered to 11 states after E
  • Coli was found at one of its springs
  • Tezzstock / Getty Images The recall applies to water produced in two Pennsylvania manufacturing facilities from June 10 …

Consumer Reports: Some bottled water brands have unsafe

  • CR urged tougher standards and a full recall for the brand
  • From late 2016 through early 2017, Starkey Water — the name of Whole Foods’ brand — recalled more than 2,000 cases of water

We are so glad you decided to visit The

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Major supermarkets recall bottled water for potential E DA: 15 PA: 50 MOZ Rank: 82

  • Major supermarkets recall bottled water for potential E
  • water bottling company Niagara Bottling says E
  • Coli has been found in one of its spring water

14 brands of bottled water recalled due to possible E DA: 8 PA: 50 MOZ Rank: 76

  • Coli scare has prompted a bottled water producer to recall some of its products
  • Niagara Bottling LLC said the recall is purely out of an abundance of caution

FDA Weighing Recall of Bottled Water With Arsenic

That's higher than the amount of arsenic that Starkey Water, a bottled water brand owned by Whole Foods, had in late 2016 and 2017, when it recalled more than 2,300 cases for excessive arsenic.

Coronavirus pandemic: Dasani bottled water finds no takers DA: 9 PA: 50 MOZ Rank: 79

  • Coronavirus pandemic: Dasani bottled water finds no takers even amid widespread panic buying
  • The product failed to make a mark in the US market after reports emerged that a batch of the bottled water was contaminated with bromate, a suspected human carcinogen, in the UK

Report: Aquafina, Dasani, Nestle Pure Life contaminated DA: 9 PA: 50 MOZ Rank: 80

  • The bottled water market is likely to expand further in the years to come
  • An expected 44.3% growth trajectory during the next three years would put the market on tap to be a $28.8 billion business by 2021
  • At last check, Nielsen data found it was an $11 billion business in 2016.

BRITA Recalls Children’s Water Bottles DA: 12 PA: 50 MOZ Rank: 84

SpongeBob Square Pants® Water Bottle (front and back) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles® Water Bottle (front and back) × Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled water bottles and contact Brita to receive a postage-paid shipping package to return the bottles for a full refund.

Arsenic in Some Bottled Water at Unsafe Levels

Indeed, over the past five years, at least 22 recalls have been initiated by bottled water firms, according to FDA records obtained through a Freedom …

Real Water Inc. still not cooperating fully with outbreak

  • The FDA is doubling down on its warnings against Real Water Inc
  • Brand bottled water as an outbreak of non-viral hepatitis traced to the water continues to grow

FDA Regulates the Safety of Bottled Water Beverages DA: 11 PA: 50 MOZ Rank: 86

  • According to the International Bottled Water Association, bottled water was the second most popular beverage in the U.S
  • In 2005, with Americans consuming more than 7.5 million gallons of bottled

Recalls & Product Notices Costco DA: 14 PA: 13 MOZ Rank: 53

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Arsenic found in 11 bottled water brands, Consumer Reports DA: 16 PA: 50 MOZ Rank: 93

Dive Brief: Out of 130 bottled water brands tested, Consumer Reports found 11 contained detectable arsenic levels, including six with 3 parts …

Several Brands of Bottled Water Recalled – NBC New York DA: 18 PA: 50 MOZ Rank: 96

Several Brands of Bottled Water Recalled Published June 22, 2015 • Updated on April 26, 2016 at 3:24 pm Niagara Bottling has recalled its bottled water products after …

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Two Brands of Bottled Water Recalled Due to Toxic Metal DA: 12 PA: 50 MOZ Rank: 92

(UNDATED) – Independent lab tests found high levels of the toxic metal arsenic in two brands of bottled water sold at grocery and big box stores, according to …

E. Coli Concerns Prompt Massive Bottled Water Recall DA: 9 PA: 50 MOZ Rank: 90

  • Coli Concerns Prompt Massive Bottled Water Recall - Rocky Hill, CT - Acadia (Stop & Shop), Big Y, ShopRite, 7-11, and several other bottled brands have been recalled due to …

Bottled water recalled due to E. coli concerns CNN DA: 11 PA: 50 MOZ Rank: 93

  • The recall affects water bottled from June 10 through 18 in two Pennsylvania plants only
  • Bratskeir said those two facilities represent less than 3% of Niagara’s overall volume.

Contigo: Kids water bottles recalled due to potential DA: 18 PA: 50 MOZ Rank: 17

  • If you've purchased a water bottle recently, you may want to check the brand
  • Contigo announced Tuesday that it is recalling the lids on 5.7 million of its Contigo Kids Cleanable Water

Tyler Mountain Bottled Water Recalled for E. coli

  • Tyler Mountain bottled water is being recalled for E.coli contamination, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

Niagara Bottled Water Recalls Products Under Several Brand DA: 15 PA: 50 MOZ Rank: 100

  • Niagara Bottled Water Recalls Products Under Several Brand Names Due To E
  • Coli Concerns 6.22.15 9:33 AM EDT By Mary Beth Quirk @marybethquirk don't drink the water water bottled water Niagara recalls

Arsenic in Some Bottled Water at Unsafe Levels says DA: 14 PA: 50 MOZ Rank: 100

Bottled water manufacturers promote their product as a pure, healthy alternative to sugar-loaded sodas, and the industry’s sales have been on a continuous climb for years, thanks in part to skittish consumers uneasy about the quality of water from their taps after a highly publicized water quality scandal in Flint, Mich., in 2015.

Bottled Water: A Call For Change

In a call for change, Waiakea founder Ryan Emmons talks about bottled water, sustainability, and what we can do to try and change the beverage industry for the better in a recent feature on Environmental Leader :

"The sustainability of bottled water has been a consistently tested and embittered subject for a variety of reasons. Issues with its packaging and sourcing have remained high profile, most specifically the repurposing of public water for profits by some of the largest corporations in the world. Thus, many brand bottled water as an unnecessary luxury that privatizes a God given right. However, not all bottled water is created equal, and not all of it is evil.

Let me be forthright. I am the CEO of a bottled water company, albeit an altruistic one. I am someone who has always been deeply passionate about sustainable living. I care about the planet and consistently find myself thinking about our future. The reality is this- bottled water is not going away.

The Reality of Clean Water

Throughout the world, and even in places throughout the U.S., bottled water represents a necessary and safe source of drinking water when municipal systems are not reliable. Last April, in the industrial city of Lanzhou in the north-west, a leak from an oil company’s pipeline poisoned tap water for 2.4m locals with carcinogenic benzene. Here in the U.S. we often take our tap water for granted, yet a carefully researched, documented and peer-reviewed study by the National Resources Defense Council found that in 19 U.S. cities pollution and deteriorating, out-of-date plumbing are posing health risks for residents. Don’t take this the wrong way. I am not condemning tap water. I drink and use tap water daily and I am lucky to be able to do so, the problem is that this is not the case everywhere.

(It also needs to be said that if my local municipality does have a sustainable and clean water supply, it makes no sense for me to purchase a bottle of water that simply bottles and resells that same tap water, unless it's out of convenience. I understand people’s frustration with this. However, many single sourced natural bottled waters have associated health benefits that tap does not, whether it’s in the form of natural minerals or alkalinity. Conversely, the recent case of Niagara Bottling company recalling 14 of its bottled water brands due to fear of E. coli contamination shows that even bottled water is at risk. Vigilance on part of Niagara resulted in no reported illnesses, and after the voluntary recall, the spring that initially indicated an E. coli contamination in fact was not.)

One of the reasons why my company Waiakea spends a significant % of its revenue on clean water projects in rural Africa, such as pump/well and sanitation development, is because these people lack water availability, infrastructure and education unlike the aforementioned, and bottled water isn’t even an option. At the end of the day 783 million people do not have access to clean and safe water and 37% of those people live in Sub-Saharan Africa. This will increase dramatically over the next 10 years.

The stark reality is easily reflected in average daily per capita water consumption figures. One of the countries we work most actively in is Malawi, where people have an average daily water use of around 15-20 liters. To give you some perspective, Americans use on average more than 176 GALLONS per day, or about 666 liters, when all is said and done.

Water Consumption Habits - A Dire Problem

This brings me to water use in the United States, specifically California. The ongoing California drought has recently received international media attention after a series of NASA photos and reports projected California would run out of water in the next two decades (I still can’t believe it took this long to acknowledge the drought was a severe issue).

Guess who has been thrown into the spotlight once again. Bottled water.

Bottling water in the midst of water scarcity is undoubtedly odd, but it is agriculture and industry that we must address. At the very least, bottled water is being wholly consumed and utilized, not wasted.

Per capita daily water use in the drought stricken California capital of Sacramento is over 279 gallons. This is just individual use, not agriculture or industry. In total, California’s use is around 38 billion gallons per day, or about 13.8 trillion gallons per year. Yes, that's trillion with a T.

Do you know what the annual consumption of bottled water is for the entire United States of America?

While drought media coverage concentrates on implications for people in cities and suburbs, from low flow toilets, to restaurant use, to lawns, to…bottled water, agriculture’s staggering 80% use of California state water is rarely mentioned.

Yes that's 80% of 13.8 trillion, or 11 trillion gallons, per day.

The reality is this: 23 gallons are needed for an ounce of almonds (about 23 nuts and not even the worst crop) while a whopping 106 gallons of water goes into making just one ounce of beef The Los Angeles Times reported recently . This is not sustainable, and water here is clearly undervalued, yet there is no legislative action or vilification whatsoever towards these products or industries.

See my thoughts on Governor Jerry Brown’s water management transparency here: California Water Management Lacks Transparency

Now what does this all mean? Is he really trying to side with the corporate juggernauts and say that bottling water in California is ok? Not at all. I believe we should only bottle water from sources with sustainable yields and recharge rates, and the same can be applied to all other resources. I’m simply trying to lend perspective so we can all see that while bottled water is an easy scapegoat, these other industries and products should be held accountable by the government, its citizens, and media just the same.

"They (Nestlé) ought to be better regulated," says Peter Gleick president of the Pacific Institute and a leading critic of the bottled water industry, though he adds a caveat that shows his understanding of a much larger problem. "But we're not going to solve the drought by not bottling water.”

All Beverages Need Accountability

I’ll give you another example of how bottled water is demonized- bottled water bans. Back in 2013 the University of Vermont was one of the first schools in the country to ban single-use bottled water from campus in a largely publicized media campaign. While the students had good intentions as they sought to reduce plastic entering the waste stream, their lack of research is disheartening.

Here is some food for thought.

Sports drinks, enhanced waters, and soda produce 50% more CO2 per serving than bottled water while juice, beer and milk produce nearly 3x the CO2. Additionally-Milk, coffee, beer, wine, and juice together comprise 28% of a consumer’s total beverage consumption but represent 58% of climate change impact. For these beverages, it takes hundred of liters of water just to produce 1 liter, whereas it only takes 1.32 liters of water and 0.24 mega joules of energy to produce every one liter of finished bottled water, including the liter of water consumed. Not to mention, bottled water only makes up one third of one percent of the U.S. waste stream whereas carbonated beverages represent 4%.

It’s easy to demonize bottled water if you ignore the facts. So what happened at UVM?

The UVM study concluded that there was even more plastic bottles going into the waste stream, and to make matters worse, students were increasingly consuming less healthy, more sugary beverages that increase the likelihood of diabetes and obesity. This was even after the installation of more water filling stations throughout the campus.

Moral of the story- If you are going to try ban and reduce plastic waste, do not ban one category of beverage exclusively, let alone the most healthy and eco-friendly.

But alas, what about glass? The public has been indoctrinated with the idea that glass is superior to PET plastic when discussing total carbon footprint, but in actuality, PET plastic offers a majority of environmental benefits- including requiring 1/2 the amount of energy to produce. Nevertheless, glass is still recycled more often than plastic - although only marginally - and has a longer life cycle, an important factor when considering carbon footprint over the long haul.

That being said, there is still something far superior that harnesses the benefits of both rPET, or post consumer recycled plastic (recycled PET). In comparison to regular or virgin plastic bottles, 100% RPET bottles -

  • Have 90% less carbon emissions
  • Use 90% less water
  • Use 85% less energy to manufacture
  • Have 90% less carbon emissions

rPET is not cheap, nor is it the final solution. But it is a powerful step in the right direction. The entire bottled water, beverage, and larger CPG industry should diligently be working towards renewable bio-polymers that provide a fully recyclable and naturally biodegradable end-of-life option.

Bottled Water Has To Change

While I have tried to give perspective with some poignant facts, bottled water undoubtedly still has to change, for it will forever be in the media spotlight. Historically, bottled water has been dominated by multinationals who’ve had little incentive for innovation or change if it goes against their bottom line. This refusal to adapt to the times at hand, combined with a lack of transparency and insignificant greenwashing, has forced people to make their own conclusions.

To change these conclusions, I believe we need to hold ourselves to an even higher standard than the rest of the beverage world by attempting to implement the following:

  • 100% rPET or renewable bio-polymers that provide a fully recyclable and naturally biodegradable end-of-life option
  • Manufacturing using renewables
  • Low emission shipping
  • Sustainable sourcing
  • Regional carbon offsets

When all is said and done, sustainability undoubtedly has a price. Is it worth it? I think so. But then again, I’m biased."

Why Are Plastic Bottles Bad for the Environment?

Plastic bottles are becoming a more ominous threat to our environment with each day that passes. What is even more upsetting is that we have the means to stop this destruction, if only we’d stop for a moment and acknowledge them. The next time you go to the store to buy bottled water in bulk, stop for a moment and think about how such a small action can harm the world. Next time you wonder why are plastic water bottles bad for the environment – or someone else asks you this question – just read this article and remember we have only one home and we litter it like crazy.


  1. Statista. Global plastic production from 1950 to 2016 (in million metric tons)* []
  2. Trevor Nace. 2017. We’re Now At A Million Plastic Bottles Per Minute – 91% Of Which Are Not Recycled []
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