Letters for October 25, 2007

Step up
Re “The big, green game” (News, Oct. 11):

I own an 11-year-old Toyota pickup, my third, with 287,000 miles on it. I’ve been waiting for Toyota (or someone) to put out a high-efficiency truck for several years. Now, from Toyota, what I get is the overweight, oversized Tundra, carefully aimed at the boat and trailer crowd, not the construction crowd they claim it is.

Most trucks and SUVs go around empty most of the time, and most of the time they don’t need 4WD, so there’s a lot of waste right there. So for myself, I’d like Toyota to build a 4WD, 30-plus mpg highway truck based on the T100 of the late ‘90s. This truck had the same bed size as the early Tundras, and I think a small efficient diesel exists out there in Toyotaworld and could be readily brought to the U.S. market now that diesel fuel has been cleaned up (low sulfur). I think a lot of people would beat a path to Toyota’s door for a truck like that.

So where are you, Toyota? Too busy pandering to the dinosaur crowd to create a better world?

Don Berinati

Drinking points
Re “Step away from the bottle” (Green, Oct. 18):

Nestle Waters North America supports people drinking more water—whether bottled or tap. Both fill important roles, and they can and do coexist. Tap water is a public utility, and bottled water is a beverage product; they don’t compete with each other.

Blanket statements that tap water is more closely regulated and safer than bottled water are misleading because they ignore significant differences in the volumes of water being processed and the number of people being served. Most FDA and EPA quality tests are based on the same standards, and Nestle Waters North America meets or exceeds all of them. We also test our water every hour and publish quality reports similar to those published by public water utilities. These can be found at www.nestlewatersnorthamerica.com, or by calling the toll-free number on our bottle labels.

We are concerned about the contribution of used water bottles to the waste stream, but the truth is they make up less than one-third of 1 percent of the municipal solid waste that ends up in landfills today. Discussions about plastic waste reduction need to start with how to improve municipal recycling programs so that all household containers—regardless of whether they hold water, peanut butter or laundry detergent—are kept out of landfills.

What’s missing from your article is that 70 percent of what people drink each day comes in a packaged container. If bottled water were not available, only 16 percent of consumers say they would switch to tap water. Most say they would instead drink sweetened beverages, such as sodas, that contribute to rising rates of obesity and diabetes. Is that a worthwhile trade off?

Brian Flaherty
Director of Public Affairs
Nestle Waters North America
Greenwich, CT

Consumers’ choice
Re “Step away from the bottle” (Green, Oct. 18):

I was disappointed to see Marnee Benson join the bottled water (ban)dwagon in her story, “Step away from the bottle,” and I feel compelled to shed light on this misguided witch hunt. First of all, she is not only guilty of completely missing the point in the bottled water vs. tap debate, but she also committed the cardinal sin of journalism: burying the lead.

As an owner of a local bottled water company, I’m outraged with the misinformation by the media relating to the bottled water industry. Ditto for the recent call by some city officials and restaurant zealots to ban bottled water and serve only tap—a silly decree that is fascist, unrealistic and only hurts the consumer.

The issue that’s falling on deaf ears is not one of bottled water vs. tap, but rather about consumer choice and convenience. A recent statement by the IBWA, a leading bottled water industry trade association, reads, “Many consumers drink both bottled water and tap water depending on the circumstances; it does not always amount to a tap water versus bottled water choice.” Sorry, I may appear biased, but I have to agree. Sure one can install expensive water filters at home or carry lemons around, as Ms. Benson suggests—or just reach for what has become the second-most preferred consumer beverage: bottled water. Furthermore, bottled water is highly regulated as a packaged food product by FDA and state regulatory agencies.

I recently watched Ken Burns’ The War series and was moved by the collective spirit behind community-led scrap metal drives of that era that ultimately helped win the war. Why can’t we declare a similar war on waste and a call to action for every man, woman and child to recycle? It would seem our politicians could better serve their constituents by establishing recycling centers or more efficient curbside recycling for businesses and homes.

Chris Warner
President, Liquid Salvation, Inc.

Re “Getting motivated,” (News, Oct. 18):

We reported, “Only three Latinos currently serve in elected positions in state government.” The correct number is five. Those excluded from our list are Sen. Robert Coffin and Assemblyman John Oceguera, both of Clark County.