Tag Archives: guelph

Nestle Waters Canada Accused of Misleading Readers in Opinion Piece

This is rich stuff. Those familiar with Nestle’s desperate attempts to avert municipal bottled water bans in Canada will know of spokesperson’s John Challinor’s repeated assertions that 60% of Nestle’s plastic water bottles are recycled.

In a response to that assertion, a Guelph (Canada) resident points out that 60% of the bottles aren’t recycled – Nestle’s simply misleading readers.

Instead, he suggests the 60% figure tossed around by Nestle refers to the percentage of people who have access to recycling – not the percentage of bottles actually recycled.

If true, StopNestleWaters.org is shocked (shocked!) at the misinformation provided by Nestle’s spinmeisters.

Shocked.

Here’s the letter:

Dear Editor – Re: “Nestlé extensively tests its water supply” letter to the editor, Jan. 19.

John Challinor, Nestlé Waters Canada’s director of corporate affairs, conveniently attempts to dismiss the public’s concern over plastic water bottle pollution by merely tossing around misleading statistics.

First, please note that the 60 per cent figure reflecting access to recycling is not the same as a percentage figure showing the percentage of Nestlé water bottles sold that are actually recycled.

Second, note that the 60 per cent figure also reflects the fact that 40 per cent of Canadians do not even have access to recycling were they even inclined to do so.

Third, the Stewardship Ontario statistic used does not actually mean that very few Nestlé water bottles end up polluting the environment. Indeed, it could be taken as reflecting the fact that most of the bottles sold to the public actually do not end up back into the home where municipalities can deal with them, the bottles being tossed elsewhere in the environment.

My point is simply that if you walk the Canadian trails I walk, if you fish on Canadian rivers after spring runoff, if you visit the lake shores of Canada, or if you walk with me along the ditches that line some of our Canadian roadways, you will get the strong impression there are even more than 650 million water bottles to worry about, no matter what the Nestlé’s corporate affairs department says about their belief that their plastic water bottles are only a convenience, not a problem. I see them on the ground nearly everywhere I go.

If I were to defend Nestlé, I could go no further than to point out their use of plastic water bottles is only part of the problem. The fact that they sell them to people is also the problem. The plastic water bottle’s availability is the problem.

It just happens that the name Nestlé is showing up on our trails and shorelines and roadways like a bad billboard.

They are innocent. Or are they?

I am disappointed they are not helping us all find a solution to the problem.

Ontario Environmental Commissioner Decries Water-Taking “Free For All”

Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner issued a report critical of the province’s lack of control over large scale water extraction. Naturally, Nestle’s name popped up (it always does when large-scale water extraction is on the radar); its operation in Guelph was cited as a prime example of large-scale extraction run amok.

“We have a free-for-all, first-come, first-served basis on our water taking,” Miller told reporters as he released his annual evaluation of the province’s environmental record. “Whoever wants the water, applies for permits and they get it . . . There’s no assessment as to how much water is available and how much water should we reserve for the proper functioning of ecosystems and how much should we reserve for public use.”

In August 2007, the provincial government introduced a regulation requiring “highly consumptive” commercial and industrial water takers – like bottled water, beverage and fertilizer manufacturers – to pay a fee for the water they used. The fee is nominal however, just one cent for every 3,000 litres extracted according to Miller.

“They’re not paying enough,” he said.

Later in the article, Nestle’s water-extraction operation outside Guelph came under fire as a sterling example of exploitation of the province’s water resources – at a time when those resources are suffering from drought and climate change.

Last year, Nestle Waters Canada prompted an unprecedented public outcry
over its application to withdraw 2,500 litres of groundwater every
minute – up to 3.6 million litres per day, 365 days per year – from the
Aberfoyle well outside Guelph.

Provincial authorities ultimately granted the permit, albeit for two years instead of the five requested by Nestle.

And yes, like so many other places which prohibit bulk transfers of water outside a basin, Ontario’s law contains a loophole exempting bottled water from bulk transfer limits.

That same loophole exists in the just-enacted Great Lakes Compact, and yes, it’s written into the law here in Siskiyou County.

The ubiquity of the loophole suggests the extent of Nestle’s legal and political reach; Nestle’s clearly attempting to lock up water supplies now, knowing they won’t become less valuable in the coming decades.

As freshwater supplies continue to tighten – even in locations where water was plentiful – groundwater planning is fast becoming an issue. You can be sure Nestle’s legal operatives will be a part of those discussions.

(via Science Canada)

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Nestle Facing Another Ban in Canada: Says Better to Create Plastic Waste Instead

Nestle’s water bottling operation has been desperately fighting municipal bans on the purchase of bottled water all over Canada, and the latest challenge comes from Guelph – the site of a very controversial Nestle water mining operation.

What’s remarkable about Nestle’s attempts to forestall a ban is that their odd contention that everyone’s better off by creating plastic waste in the form of a bottle, and then recycling some of the bottles.

From the GuelphMercury.com

The City of Guelph is considering banning bottled water in all city facilities.

A city committee discussed a plan last week that would make municipal tap water accessible to all city staff and the public inside its facilities, as well as at community events.

Mayor Karen Farbridge said employees would be provided with refillable canisters.

At the Sleeman Centre, where the city offers bottled water for sale as well as pop and juice, Farbridge said, they have asked staff to see whether there’s a way to work with the private sector to reduce waste.

Nestlé Waters Canada was present at the community development and environmental services committee to voice their opposition to the city wanting to phase out bottled water.

Instead, Nestlé spokesperson John Callinor said he wanted the city to come on board with its concept of a Public Spaces pilot program. Along with its partners, Nestlé entered into a $7.2-million agreement in June with the government of Quebec to collect and recycle plastic beverage containers and other recyclable materials.

“Don’t replace our bottled water with freely available, high-quality, low-cost-to-taxpayers tap water,” Nestle’s spokesman seems to be saying. “Buy bottled, and together, we’ll recycle some of the bottles later.”

In a market where consumers are fast becoming aware of the environmental emptiness of bottled water, Nestle’s arguments in favor of its products grow more convoluted by the day.

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