Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Tap Campaign: Ban the Bottle

Every year, Britons quench their thirst, empty their wallets, and discard 3 billion empty water bottles, filling landfills with plastic. Tap is taking on the bottled water industry and asking people to enjoy tap water instead. It's refreshing, clean and free - and doesn't muck up the planet. Our products promote sustainable, smart living, with bottles, jugs, glasses and everything else you need to enjoy tap water. Our business is carbon neutral, environmentally sensitive, ethically driven and as wholesome as a cup of strawberries. Our profits fund water projects in the developing world, showing that you can quench your thirst and do good at the same time. Visit us at

Tap water is good.

According to WHO (that’s the World Health Organization, not the band), there’s no convincing evidence that the minerals in bottled water have any beneficial effect on health.

In fact, The French Senate (who know their l’eau minĂ©rale) advises people who drink bottled mineral water to change brands frequently, because the minerals in particular brands could be harmful in high doses if consumed over a long period.

In 2006, 99.96% of the 4.5 million samples tested passed water quality sampling.

Tap water uses 0.3% of the energy needed to produce bottled water, without creating the waste. It has a big, clean taste with a small carbon footprint. We like it.

The bottled water backlash.

After a decade of unfettered growth, UK sales of bottled water have decreased by 9 percent. Bottled water is being increasingly banned at local council meetings and Prime Minister Gordon Brown recently announced that his government would be phasing out bottled water in all of its departments.

In the US, the mayors of San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Minneapolis and New York have all begun urging people to opt for tap water instead of bottled. Trendy restaurants in cities around the world have stopped the bottled glut in their establishments, newly offering their diners municipal tap water (sometimes carbonated on site).

In London, Times food critic Giles Coren recently announced a new zero-tolerance toward bottled water, and has started taking restaurants to task for offering it on their menus.

In Canada, 15 campuses have joined church groups, municipalities and other organizations in the “Back-to-the-Tap Movement,” which include declaring “bottle-free zones.”

Even the National Coalition of American Nuns adopted a resolution against the purchase bottled water unless absolutely necessary. Other religious groups with similar stands include Presbyterians for Restoring Creation, the National Council of Churches, and the United Church of Christ. Could they be getting a message from the guy upstairs? What would Jesus drink?

Water the world.

At Tap we believe it’s time to think globally and drink locally. Our actions can affect the world, where combating climate change and water can start with the twist of a faucet.

Many parts of the world are parched. More than a billion people lack access to safe drinking water. The number is expected to quadruple by the year 2050. (And we use it to make ice sculptures of Garfield.)

Water tables are retreating. Wells are drying up. More than a quarter of the world’s population rely on groundwater for drinking, but stocks are being used up faster than they are being replaced.

Here are some nasty facts:
  • 1.1 billion people live without clean drinking water.
  • 2.6 billion people lack access to clean drinking water, and three out of five live without adequate sanitation.
  • Dirty water kills 1.8 million people a year. Ninety percent of these are children (that’s 3,900 dying every day).
  • Poor people living in poor areas often pay five to 10 times more for per liter of water than wealthy people living in the same city.
  • Less than 1% of the world's fresh water (or about 0.007% of all water on earth) is readily accessible for direct human use.
  • The average individual in the developed world uses 100 to 176 gallons of water at home each day, compared with the average family in the developing world, which uses about 5 gallons.

Not all bottled water is evil. And not everyone can give up bottled water all the time. If someone handed you a bottle when you’d just passed the 25th mile on the London Marathon, for instance, you might not throw it back in their face. But let’s hope they’ve handed you one of the following brands:

Belu is a water of firsts. It’s the first carbon neutral bottled water in the UK (partly by not importing or exporting its water, to reduce its carbon footprint). It’s has UK’s first compostable bottle made from corn. And all Belu’s profits go to clean water projects. Its partners (besides Tap) include WaterAid, NatureWorks, and the London Rebuilding Society (LRS).

AquAid makes water coolers and donates a lot of their profits to a number of charities, including Water Aid, Christian Aid, and Pump Aid.

Charity:water have funded more than 600 projects in 11 nations that will provide 250,000 people with clean water.

And we’re at

J.B. Miller is an American writer living in London where his play “The Dorchester” was produced last year at the Jermyn Street Theatre. He cowrote “The Acme Climate Action Kit” which is being published in September by 4th Estate. Check out

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