| by Kenneth Chase | 100 comments

The Story of Bottled Water

This is a story about a world obsessed with stuff. It’s a story about a system in crisis. We’re trashing the planet. We’re trashing each other. And we’re not even having fun. The good thing is that when we start to understand the system, we start to see lots of places to step in and turn these problems into solutions. One of the problems with trying to use less stuff is that sometimes we feel like we really need it. What if you live in a city like, say, Cleveland and you want a glass of water? Are you going to take your chances and get it from the city tap? Or should you reach for a bottle of water that comes from the pristine rainforests of… Fiji? Well, Fiji brand water thought the answer to this question was obvious. So they built a whole ad campaign around it. It turned out to be one of the dumbest moves in advertising history. You see, the city of Cleveland didn’t like being the butt of Fiji’s jokes, so they did some tests and guess what? These tests showed a glass of Fiji water is lower quality, it loses taste tests against Cleveland tap and costs thousands of times more. This story is typical of what happens when you test bottled water against tap water. Is it cleaner? Sometimes, sometimes not. In many ways, bottled water is less regulated than tap. Is it tastier? In taste tests across the country, people consistently choose tap over bottled water. These bottled water companies say they’re just meeting consumer demand. But who would demand a less sustainable, less tasty, way more expensive product, especially one you can get for almost free in your kitchen? Bottled water costs about 2000 times more than tap water. Can you imagine paying 2000 times the price of anything else? How about a $10,000 sandwich? Yet people in the US buy more than half a billion bottles of water every week. That is enough to circle the globe more than 5 times. How did this come to be? Well, it all goes back to how our materials economy works and one of its key drivers which is known as manufactured demand. If companies want to keep growing, they have to keep selling more and more stuff. In the 1970s giant soft drink companies got worried as they saw their growth projections starting to level off. There’s only so much soda a person can drink. Plus it wouldn’t be long before people began realizing that soda is not that healthy and turned back to “gasp”, drinking tap water. Well, the companies found their next big idea in a silly designer product that most people laughed off as a passing yuppie fad. “Water is free”, people said back then, “what will they sell us next, air?” So how do you get people to buy this fringe product? Simple. You manufacture demand. How do you do that? Well, imagine you’re in charge of a bottled water company. Since people aren’t lining up to trade their hard-earned money for your unnecessary product, you make them feel scared and insecure if they don’t have it. And that’s exactly what the bottled water industry did. One of their first marketing tactics was to scare people about tap water, with ads like Fiji’s Cleveland campaign. “When we’re done,” one top water executive said. “tap water will be relegated to showers and washing dishes.” Next, you hide the reality of your product behind images of pure fantasy. Have you ever noticed how bottled water tries to seduce us with pictures of mountain streams and pristine nature? But guess where a third of all bottled water in the US actually comes from? The tap! Pepsi’s Aquafina and Coke’s Dasani are two of the many brands that are really filtered tap water. But the pristine nature lie goes much deeper. In a recent full page ad, Nestlé said: “bottled water is the most environmentally responsible consumer product in the world.” What?! They are trashing the environment all along the product’s life cycle. Exactly how is that environmentally responsible? The problems start here with extraction and production where oil is used to make water bottles. Each year, making the plastic water bottles used in the US takes enough oil and energy to fuel a million cars. All that energy spent to make the bottle even more to ship it around the planet and then we drink it in about 2 minutes? That brings us to the big problem at the other end of the life cycle. Disposal. What happens to all these bottles when we’re done? Eighty percent end up in landfills, where they will sit for thousands of years, or in incinerators, where they are burned, releasing toxic pollution. The rest gets collected for recycling. I was curious about where the plastic bottles that I put in the recycling bins go. I found out that shiploads were being sent to India. So, I went there. I will never forget riding over a hill outside Madras where I came face to face with a mountain of plastic bottles from California. Now, real recycling would turn these bottles back into bottles. But that wasn’t what was happening here. Instead these bottles were slated to be downcycled, which means turning them into lower quality products that would just be chucked later. The parts that couldn’t be downcycled were thrown away there, shipped all the way to India just to be dumped in someone else’s backyard. If bottled water companies want to use mountains on their labels, it would be more accurate to show one of these mountains of plastic waste. Scaring us, seducing us, and misleading us these strategies are all core parts of manufacturing demand. Once they have manufactured all this demand, creating a new multibillion dollar market, they defend it by beating out the competition. But in this case, the competition is our basic human right to clean, safe drinking water. Pepsi’s Vice Chairman publicly said “The biggest enemy is tap water!” They want us to think it’s dirty and bottled water is the best alternative. In many places, public water is polluted thanks to polluting industries like the plastic bottle industry. And these bottled water guys are all too happy to offer their expensive solutions, which keep us hooked on their products. It is time we took back the tap. That starts with making a personal commitment to not buy or drink bottled water unless the water in your community is truly unhealthy. Yes, it takes a bit of foresight to grab a reusable bottle on the way out, but I think we can handle it. Then take the next step join a campaign that’s working for real solutions, like demanding investment in clean tap water for all. In the US, tap water is underfunded by $24 billion partly because people believe drinking water only comes from a bottle! Around the world, a billion people don’t have access to clean water right now. Yet cities all over are spending millions of dollars to deal with all the plastic bottles we throw out. What if that money was spent improving our water systems or better yet, preventing pollution to begin with? There are many more things we can do to solve this problem. Lobby your city officials to bring back drinking fountains. Work to ban the purchase of bottled water by your school, your organization or entire city. This is a huge opportunity for millions of people to wake up and protect our wallets, our health and the planet. The good news is: it’s already started. Bottled water sales have begun to drop while business is booming for safe refillable water bottles. Yay! Restaurants are proudly serving “tap” and people are choosing to pocket the hundreds or thousands of dollars they would otherwise be wasting on bottled water. Carrying bottled water is on its way to being as cool as smoking while pregnant. We know better now. The bottled water industry is getting worried because the jig is up. We are not buying into their manufactured demand anymore. We will choose our own demands, thank you very much, and we’re demanding clean safe water for all. Subtitles by the Amara.org community


Tac 978

May 5, 2018, 10:02 pm Reply

Half this video is false, and half is a bunch of liberal propaganda.

DIY Art and Craft

Jun 6, 2018, 4:05 am Reply


Invigorated Water

Jun 6, 2018, 4:45 am Reply

Great video! Thank you!

Ashton De Guzman

Jun 6, 2018, 8:14 pm Reply

mhm good

Robert Dress

Jun 6, 2018, 8:44 pm Reply

Not a single mention of fluoride in 99.9% of all tap water in the US.

Musabende Esther

Jun 6, 2018, 3:55 pm Reply

Thanks but why right now many people drink bottle of water than tap of water ?

cromusic ibra

Jul 7, 2018, 7:42 pm Reply

"Pristine mountain streams." You mean like Deer Park? I don't touch that because there's a picture of a deer, and I don't want a deer pissin and shitting in my water.

Rebecca Craft

Jul 7, 2018, 11:53 am Reply

I feel like my life is a lie… I’m legitimately afraid of tap water. Now I need to look into my water filter.

Naman Rahel

Jul 7, 2018, 12:31 pm Reply

U should make your kartoon interusting


Jul 7, 2018, 11:35 am Reply

I like it

Raja King

Jul 7, 2018, 2:18 pm Reply

Now im living in Madras Tamilnadu,india….

Brooke Walsh

Jul 7, 2018, 8:38 am Reply

This video really does not age well, especially after the Flint, Michigan crisis. Sure, in certain parts of the United States tap water is perfectly safe and potable but in many places in the world tap water simply isn't an option. I feel like the bigger issue here is providing people with potable water, which is exactly what bottled water does. It's no secret that plastic is bad for the environment but if you want to reduce the amount of plastic bottles then you need to focus on giving the people potable tap water that they won't fear is being poisoned.

Sophi Fisher

Jul 7, 2018, 2:18 am Reply

A great debate as to whether bottled H20 is what it claims to be


Jul 7, 2018, 4:40 am Reply

This is just communist propaganda

Francisco javier manrique cerrillo

Aug 8, 2018, 5:12 pm Reply

Yes. Bottled water is responsible for islands of plastic in the ocean. And bottled water industries are buying natural water reserves to get trillionaries when drinking water increases in price.

Manjari Pradhan

Aug 8, 2018, 1:08 pm Reply

Your channel is amazing. Thank you so much!

Слава сталину

Aug 8, 2018, 7:29 pm Reply

Fiji water has less mercury and less heavy metals
So like sorry just ur average radical human that doesn’t the like being exploited by the capitalist

Patricia Hammett

Aug 8, 2018, 5:52 pm Reply

A counter top water filter with filters for a year $80.00. after that only filters $60.00 a year.
Bottled water for cooking, including tea and coffee would $364.00 per year. I'm only one in my house, think what a family of four would spend.
Also I don't drink soda therefore no plastic bottle to fill land fields.

Derka Derka

Sep 9, 2018, 12:34 pm Reply

The anti-SJW movement distracts us from the real issues.

Vinod Giri

Sep 9, 2018, 1:12 pm Reply

Your point of view on these things are really worth…

wha wha

Sep 9, 2018, 3:46 pm Reply

Yes! Clean air is now manufactured demand! After cool air became scared.


Oct 10, 2018, 1:01 am Reply

I don’t know who they had doing the “taste testing” as I have never found any tap water that taste good. Unless you filter it with a really good filter it always at least to me has tasted bad sometimes the bleachy taste and smell make it almost unbearable to drink. I do agree the waste is a problem but please don’t tell me that Tap water taste better I’m not buying that at all. And if you purchase “Spring” water and the source is listed this water does not have it’s source from a city tap that would be labeled “purified water” which I avoid.

Radha Krishna Ramagiri

Oct 10, 2018, 5:25 pm Reply

The tit of tat for bottled water companies would be, we use the same bottles and fill them with tap water and use these bottles regularly. And not throw them away!!

Sextus Empiricus

Oct 10, 2018, 9:03 pm Reply

I've been buying distilled water by the gallon for years and years. $1.00 per gallon. TASTE? It's water! H2O. And by the way, that juice you buy in the nice convenient little containers is DEAD! Once juice is separated from its source it begins to die immediately. So even if you have a juicer and make it fresh you should drink it immediately. The sooner the better.

Simon Davis

Oct 10, 2018, 7:57 am Reply

I have a well and a filter on the fridge. Constant supply of clean filtered water, that I drink from a glass.

Rowan Gilliland

Oct 10, 2018, 6:36 pm Reply

These animations are weird

Rowan Gilliland

Oct 10, 2018, 6:37 pm Reply

When he breaths thru a bottle is funny


Nov 11, 2018, 11:20 pm Reply

Whater does not have a taste

Bruce Brooker

Nov 11, 2018, 12:44 pm Reply

Bottled water is stupid consumerist BS. Nestle stroking their bottom line riding on the coat tails of your fear. Little plastic bottles of water should be banned.

Diego Gallardo

Nov 11, 2018, 1:22 am Reply

im a noob

J. Ongman

Nov 11, 2018, 5:24 am Reply

yea we are, we have hobbies and shit

Blackrag PubG

Nov 11, 2018, 12:00 pm Reply

This video was made by Tap Water Gang


Nov 11, 2018, 1:53 pm Reply

수돗물이 깨끗해도 배관이 더러우면 무슨 소용이래요? 업체를 불러서 배관청소를 시켜야 합니다. 저희 집도 작년인가 올해엔가 배관청소 했거든요.


Nov 11, 2018, 7:51 pm Reply

I get that this doesnt solve most of the issue here… but I have never once thrown a water bottle in the garbage. I'm not an animal lol. How hard is it to just put it in the blue bin instead? Answer: not.

Bassline Rally

Nov 11, 2018, 3:29 am Reply

Thanks for making requesting water in restaurants cool because I thought it was always awkward to ask. But you just normalised it. Nothing with it at all. 😉

Zachary Bosch-Bird

Nov 11, 2018, 6:59 pm Reply

How are there 1,500 dislikes lol

Francisco Romano (Student)

Dec 12, 2018, 4:09 pm Reply

Amazing video you guys


Dec 12, 2018, 8:20 pm Reply

The Love of Money truly is the root of all evil.

DiMaggio Saldana

Dec 12, 2018, 4:23 pm Reply

My sister is a bad person

Karry Meyrick

Jan 1, 2019, 12:28 pm Reply

Is there a spanish version?

Andre Dakho

Jan 1, 2019, 6:00 pm Reply


Andre Dakho

Jan 1, 2019, 6:10 pm Reply



Jan 1, 2019, 1:09 am Reply

I hate this overweight broad

Robert Johanknecht

Jan 1, 2019, 2:25 am Reply

I doubt I will ever get an answer on this because they don't want to face the reality of what may be. So when the government shuts down both Federal and local which will cause either a full cessation of water services, are we just supposed to find a local river or lake we can all go put our faces in? And when water is so scarced that bottles of water are worth whatever useful product you can trade for since cash and coins will have 0 value in the Revolution, having a few cases of the stuff in your home might just be something that you can have and it will be your choice what do do with them. Also in an emergency or when you cannot afford to pay your bills because of a dispute, don't you think you ought to have some kind of reliance that you can survive on? Just facing the reality of what might be?

what the fwick

Jan 1, 2019, 5:29 am Reply

I drank bottled water while watching :/

Da Royal General

Jan 1, 2019, 11:44 am Reply

bottled water = politics & religions..…"scare & seduce" the masses.

Bonnie Mascali

Feb 2, 2019, 7:17 am Reply

I have stopped using bottled water, along with all fluids in plastic, including soda.

oli tesla

Feb 2, 2019, 7:01 am Reply

Buy bottled water from where you live!

oli tesla

Feb 2, 2019, 7:03 am Reply

Good old water fountain ⛲️

oli tesla

Feb 2, 2019, 7:04 am Reply

Nestle get out what jerks!

oli tesla

Feb 2, 2019, 7:08 am Reply

Pepsi. Are. Idiots.

Krazy KTkatz

Feb 2, 2019, 9:09 pm Reply

I don't drink tap water because I refuse to take the mind controlling drug.

Astro Apollo

Mar 3, 2019, 8:16 pm Reply

I love the people in the comments like "haha you Stupid Sheeple! I, the genius, pays 50x more money for a free resource!"


Mar 3, 2019, 3:31 pm Reply

Tap water is bad bottle water is bad a filter is $$$$$$$$$ = were fucked.

Just another Bird

Mar 3, 2019, 8:03 pm Reply

Anyone who drinks bottled water and has clean tap is literally an idiot.

Brandon Minott

Mar 3, 2019, 3:07 pm Reply

trashhhh waste of my time

Liam Ayers

Mar 3, 2019, 3:52 pm Reply

i don't get it, if they are try to scare us into drinking from plastic water bottles, isn't this video trying to scare us into not drinking from bottles?

Teri G

Mar 3, 2019, 12:41 am Reply

I live in Los Angeles and the tap water not only tastes terrible, it turns my toothbrush completely pink within a couple of weeks. When I got a new brush I rinsed it only under the filtered shower water. This still resulted in a bit of pink around the base of the bristles, but I did take much longer.
The only water we drink is taken from the shower filter then put through another very strong filter. Despite the terrible quality of tap water in our city we still don't use disposable water bottles. No excuse.

Radhee Dewan

Mar 3, 2019, 3:01 am Reply

The drinking sounds in this video are so satisfying lol. gugugugug

Ganesh Chobe

Mar 3, 2019, 3:44 am Reply

All animals drinking tap water … Than why human want bottle water….

George Salukvadze

Mar 3, 2019, 11:06 am Reply

Personal experience:
1. Tap water in Russia is undrinkable, as it comes from very polluted rivers, lakes etc. And in winter the tap water is actually BROWN.
2. Tap water in Georgia is perfectly safe to drink. I have never done the chemical analysis, but the tap water and filtered tap water DO taste the same.
3. Tap water in Switzerland is perfectly safe to drink. Same as in Georgia, aside from the fact, that it contains a lot of calcium and I prefer to filter it out.
4. There are dozens of drinking fountains throughout Geneva, which use the same water system as buildings, so they are perfectly safe to drink.

This is amazing, how US, a country, which is much more developed than Georgia, still has this problem. Obviously, the tap water is not clean throughout Georgia, but in most cities it is and there are construction works underway to improve it where it isn't

Tristen Jones

Mar 3, 2019, 4:39 pm Reply

My friend is trying to convince me that bottled water is worse than tap water in places like Flint, MI and Costa Rica for examples. Of course as I went to read the article I conveniently met with a "404 not found." Don't have the time to watch this video now but I am having a hard time believing this. I'm not gonna believe something just because someone posted a YT video about it. If someone could link me some science based articles on this study, you'd be a cool dude.

ashley arias

Mar 3, 2019, 9:54 am Reply

I work at a place that sells a lot of bottled water. I always suggest free tap options but it’s really the guest’s decision if they want to spend $4 for a bottle of water that causes a ton of damage to the environment instead of getting a better quality more refreshing and sustainable drink for FREE. I could think of some way better ways to waste $16 any time the family starts feeling thirsty.

Gavin Stevens

Apr 4, 2019, 4:38 pm Reply


Colin Schneider

Apr 4, 2019, 5:20 pm Reply

dood, water bottles r good u r not

neon boi2000

Apr 4, 2019, 5:52 pm Reply

gosh, some of you people are disgusting. you only watched it because your TEACHER made you? that was the same story for me except I watched more at home and I've watched EVERY SINGLE one now more than 2 times! do you even care about earth!!!

Dominic Lomeli

Apr 4, 2019, 7:25 pm Reply

this suck

Upshift Z71

Apr 4, 2019, 10:01 pm Reply

throwin 37s on it


Apr 4, 2019, 8:01 am Reply

Everyone should drink distilled water.There is nothing in it.It has no taste.Distilled water is the cheapest water to buy in grocery stores.Distilled water is best when chilled un the fridge.It is even better from the freezer it ice cold.By the way only clear plastic c an be recycled.it is purchased by China to may polyester plastic clothes.If you buy polyester your clothes are made from clear plastic bottles.

Austin Sturm

Apr 4, 2019, 7:00 pm Reply

This video sucks grandmas soggy butt crack

anna soucek

May 5, 2019, 4:09 pm Reply

I drink tap water, I pay monthy for this. If everyone keeps buying bottled water then city will slack on water quality. Try and be responsible for the planet . Life.


May 5, 2019, 7:24 pm Reply

Most bottled water is undeniably awful. I'm talking Aquafina, Dasani, and Nestle brands (Purelife, Poland Springs,) etc..

The same can be said for tap water. Different cities regulate their water supply differently, so be sure to check what your city does to its supply before you drink it! Some cities add inorganic fluoride (not natural occurring organic fluoride!) Next they add tons and tons of chlorine, which contributes to many diseases!

iNdiGO I

May 5, 2019, 7:11 pm Reply

Anyone looking for a comment from 2010

Bray Rodriguez

May 5, 2019, 8:13 pm Reply

nahhh to me Fiji taste better than 90% of tap water that I've tasted. Im not saying Fiji is the best water out there. Although I do enjoy the smooth taste it has. But to say that tap taste better than fiji…. LIES lol

The hydroponic aquaponic farmer and gardener

May 5, 2019, 5:30 pm Reply

Enlightening thank you.


May 5, 2019, 2:16 pm Reply

study just came out how almost all the rivers on the planet contain antibiotics, or even lead…. So how am I supposed to be okay with drinking from the tap?

Dominic Caparelli

May 5, 2019, 7:00 pm Reply

hey guys its AJ here

Michelle Liu

Jun 6, 2019, 10:14 pm Reply

This is a very old video but a very good explanation!

Ajith Antony

Jun 6, 2019, 6:08 pm Reply

All good points. One objection: The plastic is a free byproduct of refining oil for fuel. Our consumption of oil is unrelated to the quantity of plastic we produce. The statement about 1 million cars is nonsense.

The Story of Stuff Project

Jun 6, 2019, 4:37 pm Reply

What could go wrong if profit-driven corporations gained control your city's public water systems? Watch our latest animation, The Story of Water! ?? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04jTleV0gK0

Simon Davis

Jun 6, 2019, 4:42 am Reply

Sadly, I have to drink bottled water at the moment. We have well water, and it has been contaminated. I actually miss tap water.

Khadija Shaioua

Jun 6, 2019, 10:47 pm Reply

Who is watching this while ur thirsty

Vaijayanthi suresh

Jul 7, 2019, 11:54 am Reply

You are right

Kari Chandler

Aug 8, 2019, 12:31 am Reply

My father hated the entire concept of bottled water in general!
It was one of his major pet peeves.
He always called it the "biggest f'n waste of money ever."
And I remember how annoyed he used to get whenever my mom went into the store and bought a bottle of water!
I really think that she did it just to piss him off sometimes. She knew how he'd react. ?
But it still makes me laugh to think back on all the times he bitched so much about it. It was always quite funny.

Emerge Matic

Aug 8, 2019, 3:58 pm Reply

But miss who the hell wants to drink unfiltered tap with chlorine and flourine and flouride?

Harry Munro

Aug 8, 2019, 3:49 am Reply

In some places drinking water is the same as flushed toilet water and there’s no harm in reusing

Harry Munro

Aug 8, 2019, 3:50 am Reply

I know of a few companies that cleanse, refill and sell to poorer countries

Harry Munro

Aug 8, 2019, 3:50 am Reply

As long as it’s rain water and clean it is perfectly fine with me


Sep 9, 2019, 7:25 pm Reply

Take that shit called Aluminum attaching Fluoride out of our water and we MIGHT DRINK TAP WATER AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
SIGNED, The ONLY $2.50 for 24 16oz bottles of real mountain spring water drinker


Sep 9, 2019, 12:04 am Reply

Datos muy interesantes, buen vídeo.

Juanito Arcoiris2

Sep 9, 2019, 11:40 pm Reply

If your hometown's tap water is loaded with carbonates and many other stuff, bottled water is always an option since it has to meet many standards, one of them the salt concentration

bill Dautreve

Sep 9, 2019, 1:38 am Reply

There is a commercial they made along time ago where there were two guys standing in a river (I’m guessing in Colorado?) but one guy says “Whoa! This is so clean, We could bottle this all up and sell it!”
The other guy knocks the bottle out of his hand and says “Dude water is free..”
it was a great commercial and I only seen it once .. I’ve been looking for
It for years. Does anyone know what I’m talking about? Just wondering, this seems like the the place to ask this question. Thanks either way though

interventionX Bruv

Sep 9, 2019, 4:32 pm Reply

I had to watch this in class

Zakery Grimm

Sep 9, 2019, 11:41 am Reply

Our water was bad until Minot supplied spare water


Oct 10, 2019, 11:25 pm Reply

Yeah, you idiots do know where the
profit comes from for bottled water don't you?…..the goddamned bottles.
They're a petroleum based product……do the math…..the water comes from the


Oct 10, 2019, 11:25 pm Reply

Yeah, you idiots do know where the
profit comes from for bottled water don't you?…..the goddamned bottles.
They're a petroleum based product……do the math…..the water comes from the


Oct 10, 2019, 11:25 pm Reply

Yeah, you idiots do know where the
profit comes from for bottled water don't you?…..the goddamned bottles.
They're a petroleum based product……do the math…..the water comes from the

It’s the fox!

Oct 10, 2019, 5:42 pm Reply

Environmental genocide indeed

It’s the fox!

Oct 10, 2019, 5:51 pm Reply

People are stupid. All the tourists that come to my town in Croatia buy dozens and hundereds (literally) of water bottles per person because they are too stupid and lazy to educate themselves on the fact that water here is safe to drink….

Shirley Ross

Oct 10, 2019, 1:13 am Reply

I don't mind things we are going to keep for a lot of years being made out of plastic but the disposables have to go.

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