State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

The Bottled Water Risk: ‘Tapped’ Awareness Event (photos)


On April 21, the Tapped Truck visited the Columbia University campus, as part of an event organized by Teacher’s College Program in Social Studies and the Go Green Committee.  The truck pulled up on 120th Street and began exchanging plastic water bottles for Klean Kanteen eco-friendly aluminum ones.

bottleThe line formed quickly, and the first 100 people received bottles, which were gone within minutes, while any who came later received discount coupons.

Dabney, a Teacher’s College student, said, “A friend told me about it and I thought it was kind of a cool idea, and I had a water bottle.  Someone is going to recycle it for me.

“I’d like to get into recycling more.  I like this kind of stuff that’s easy and can make a big impression on a lot of people.  I’m definitely interested in sustainability issues in general.  Teacher’s College does a lot of work with that, so I’ve gotten more interested in it being here.”


The bottle exchange was a lead-in to a screening of the documentary film Tapped, about the environmental and health effects of bottled water.  Stephanie Soechtig, the film’s director, and Sarah Olson, producer, have been participating in similar awareness events around the country.


Soechtig (left) said, “We started in Los Angeles, and we’ll be ending in Nestle’s back yard in Greenwich, CT.  What we do is go town to town and trade people their single serve bottles of water for reusable bottles, and we ask them to sign the pledge to reduce their bottled water use.

“We’ve been getting a great response.  Most often people are shocked about the health effects of being exposed to plastic.”

After the campaign ends, the truck will go into retirement, but the film will be available on DVD for groups and individuals to use in their own bottled water awareness events.

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