What's the story behind bottled water?

The Story of Stuff Project
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The Story of Bottled Water

The Story of Bottled Water, released on March 22, 2010 (World Water Day), uses an eight-minute video to tell the story of how we got to a position where people are willing to pay for bottled water, when they have a virtually free supply in their kitchen tap.


Bottled water, the video tells us, is no cleaner, is less tasty, and is around 2,000 times more expensive than the H2O supplied by your city water company. So why do people buy it? It’s all about “manufactured demand”: the video explains how business has scared, seduced and misled us to create an industry, which not only wastes our money, but also pollutes at every stage of its production process.

Using an on-screen presenter, and simple black-and-white animation, the video ends with a call to action - urging viewers to avoid bottled water and campaign for public investment in clean, accessible water for all.

The video suggests we are making progress (or were, when this was made in 2010) and that drinking bottled water is becoming as socially unacceptable as smoking while pregnant. In fact, more recent figures show sales of bottled water continue to rise.

Sustainly says

This is a simple campaign with a straightforward message. We all know bottled water is wasteful, don’t we? But we’re still buying it, so it pays to be reminded. However, sales of bottled water continue to grow, so five years on, despite its clarity and convincing message, this campaign hasn’t made the breakthrough it intended.