On Saturday, I finally got a chance to see Tapped – a compelling documentary about the business of bottled water in the United States.   It was well worth my trek up to Mercer County Community College where Hackensack River Keeper was hosting the screening.  Not available for purchase yet, the movie is only available to groups willing to pay $175 and charge admission.   You can get a flavor for the movie by watching the 5 minute trailer.

I was most startled by the lack of regulation of bottled water.  Most bottled water (60-70%) is sold in-state and is therefore completely unregulated by any agency.    Bottled water that is transported across state lines is regulated by the FDA.  Do you know how many people at the FDA are devoted to this task?  Less than 1!  When the interviewer asked the poor woman, she admitted that she actually had other responsibilities, too!  WHAT? 

Another astonishing fact was that a 10 cent bottle deposit has increased the recycling rate of disposable plastic bottles to 97% in Michigan.   If plastic waste were the only problem posed by bottled water that would be a good solution.  

Tapped showed the impact of the bottled water industry on rural towns across America where ground water is being mined.  The arrogance of the multi-national corporations is disheartening.  In the face of local opposition, dropping water levels in wells and water bodies, and even during droughts,  they continue to pump water, bottle it, transport it, and sell it.

All those bottled water labels with pictures of pristine mountains portraying the product as pure and clean couldn’t be further from reality.  This eye-opening film is worth tracking down to see.  If you’re involved with any sort of environmental group, showing Tapped would be a great way to raise awareness and motivate supporters to drink tap water and a use a reusable bottle when on the go.