In 2018, entrepreneur and explorer, Richard Branson, journeyed to the bottom of the Great Blue Hole in the Caribbean Sea. One of the deepest sinkholes in the world; descending 410 feet (125 m).
Upon reaching the ocean floor, Branson's elation soon turned to despair. "Sadly, we saw plastic bottles at the bottom of the Great Blue Hole," he said.
For Branson, this was a sobering wake up call: "We've got to get rid of single-use plastic. It's a real scourge of the ocean."
Scientists say the equivalent of 2 garbage trucks of plastic bottles and waste are dumped in our oceans and waterways every... single... minute.
Every day, birds, sea and land animals are consuming or getting trapped in plastic waste, and it is killing them.
But I recycle, you may be thinking.
Unfortunately, most of the plastic waste in recycling bins never ends up getting recycled. In fact, per the United Nations, 91% of plastics worldwide are never recycled.
Many are shipped en masse from developed nations to developing ones, where they are burned; dumped in landfills; or dumped into the sea.
Not only that, but bottled water companies are siphoning local water from forests, fragile ecosystems, and impoverished neighborhoods. And they pay next to nothing for the water.
Just $200 USD a year in Michigan to extract a whopping 79 million gallons a year. That's equal to 599 million Pure Life bottled waters. With an estimated revenue of $120 million USD a year for that operation alone.
Meanwhile, in the same state and at the same time as the Flint Water Crisis, residents in Flint, Michigan were getting water bills as high as $200 USD a month.
Or, just $2,100 USD a year to extract over 58 million gallons of California spring water in a national forest reserve. Within a state that has been suffering from drought and worsening wildfires for over a decade.
That's equal to 439 million Arrowhead bottled waters a year. With an estimated revenue of $97 million USD annually for that operation alone.
In states and provinces around the globe, bottled water companies are using way more, whilst paying way less than a local citizen. Exacerbating droughts, local health crises, and killing wildlife.
All the while, reaping billions in profit annually.
The Bait and Switch
Today, bottled water is the most popular packaged beverage in the U.S. More than soda, juice, beer, coffee, or tea.
Generating $36 billion in annual revenue. The equivalent of 113 billion individual, single-use, plastic bottled waters - sold in a single year, in the United States alone.
Worldwide, that number skyrockets to 818 trillion plastic bottles.
Now, here's the crazy part...
Much of the bottled water sold in the U.S. is filled with tap water sourced from municipal water systems in the United States. That's right, bottled water drinkers are paying a premium for the very same tap water that comes out of their faucet (with an extra layer of industrial filtration on top).
Yet, you can easily add a water filter to your faucet to get the same water quality and flavor, or better.
Bottled water brands like Aquafina, Dasani, and Pure Life are all filled with filtered tap water. Collectively, these companies are raking in billions in profit, selling you local tap water.
All the while, creating trillions of plastic bottles that never get recycled. Trillions of plastic bottles that are injuring, poisoning, and killing wildlife around the globe.