Continuing in the vein of documentaries around consumption in America, I popped in Tapped last night. Tapped is a documentary about the bottled water industry and the effect it’s having on our environment, our communities, and our perception of water as a commodity versus a human right.
One of the most shocking things I learned is that municipal water is sometimes used by large corporations, like Nestle or Coca Cola, as the source for their bottled water. In other words, we’re buying back free water that all of us already have access for the convenience of carrying it around in a little plastic bottle that’s going to end up in the trash anyway. (In the US, 20% of these recyclable bottles actually make it to the recycling can.) Crazy, right?
The movies goes further into detail about the independent research that has been conducted around the potential long-term health ramifications of many materials we use for plastic bottles. Possibly most disturbing, however, is the sheer amount of these plastic bottles that wind up in the ocean. Caught in currents, many bottles are deposited on a beach in Hawaii, the most southern beach in the US, the sand on which is predominantly composed of plastic at this point.
The irreversibility is absolutely terrifying. I often balk at putting too much of an emphasis on individual actions, because at the end of the day it’s up to corporations to change for a massive effect to be felt. Yet, I also believe that people can push for that change. In that sense, Tapped is an eye-opening documentary that definitely has me scrambling for more reusable, natural, and, well, free versions of things that are already available to me in a sustainable way.