Video highlights how bottled water bans cause “shift in consumption”
The International Bottled Water Assn.'s consumer website has released a new YouTube video, “Meet Norman,” that shows how bottled water bans are having an unintended effect by shifting consumption to less healthy drinks packaged in the same material as bottled water.
“Environmental activists have been relentless in their opposition to bottled water, and in the few instances where they have been successful at instigating bans on the sale of bottled water, or restricting consumer access to bottled water, early indications show these efforts are causing people to drink other packaged drinks, not necessarily turning to the tap,” said Chris Hogan, vice president of communications for IBWA. “With the United States facing increasing risks of obesity and diabetes, removing bottled water as a packaged beverage of choice is surely not in the public’s interest.”
In the “Meet Norman” video, viewers follow "Norman’s" life after his town bans the sale of bottled water. Without realizing the effect on his health, Norman drinks other packaged drinks for sale, and in the space of a year is surprised by his weight gain.
Taking the advice of his doctor, Norman looks closely at his diet and discovers that nearly 30% of his diet is coming from sugary drinks. He does some research on bottled water and the environment and discovers that since the year 2000, 73% of the growth in bottled water sales came from people switching from sugary drinks (soda, juices and milk) to bottled water. And he notes that bottled water containers are 100% recyclable. At the end of the video, Norman comes to the conclusion that his town’s bottled water ban did not solve any environmental issues, it merely shifted consumption to other drinks — ones packaged in the same material as bottled water.
“Evidence of this ‘shift in consumption’ is only recently emerging,” Hogan said. “Data from FRC Research Corp. shows when bottled water isn't available, 63% of consumers say they would choose a sweetened beverage instead. While we understand that there are some people who object to bottled water, we disagree with activists fighting to take away the consumers’ ability to make healthy beverage choices. Obesity and diabetes are already serious and growing health threats, so removing the most healthful packaged beverage from the self is not the right approach. These same activists could have a greater environmental impact by focusing their efforts on improving recycling rates of all consumer packaging, not just singling out one product.”
Click here  to view the video.