The Dasani Paradox

The Coca Cola Company has been selling purified and artificially remineralized tap water as Dasani (or Bonaqa in Germany) since 1999. The purification process is complex and intricate, which makes it a costly alternative to other potable water brands. I find the notion of purity very interesting: Natural water is per se something to be purified, filtered and rid of the naturally present minerals, in order to reconstruct it according to an idea how water should be. The purification process is here not only a treatment of possibly contaminated water: It is part of a global synchronization process, whose goal is to make a bottle of water to be fully replaceable by another one – all over the world. Very much like McDonald’s has created the ideal burger, which is supposed to taste and look the same, no matter if I order it in Beijing, Zurich or Lima Airport.

While Dasani has become a market success in the US, Coca Cola decided to withdraw the brand from the UK, after potentially carcinogen chemicals were found in the processed water:

“Through detailed analysis, we discovered that our product did not meet our quality standards. Because of the high level of bromide contained in the calcium chloride, a derivate of bromide, bromate, was formed at a level that exceeded UK legal standards. This occurred during the ozonisation process we employ in manufacturing.”

The fact that the tap water was purer in the first place than the purified water exposed the company to lots of ridicule and the decision to withdraw from the UK market was very likely an attempt to contain the damage.

Nevertheless, Dasani ranges among the most consumed bottled water brands in the States. A new publicity ploy tries to add another surplus value besides pureness: sustainability. The Dasani Plant Bottle is claimed to be made from up to 30% plant-based material, the rest of recycled PET. As the website claims, the Coca Cola Company contributes to “future, where every plastic bottle is made from materials that are 100% renewable as well as recyclable”.

Just like the implicit claim that purified water is purer than the natural base material, also this ploy is based on interesting implicit assumptions: 1. We will need bottled water in the future, 2. Renewable plastic material is a real alternative because 3. it is a natural product. In this, these assumptions resemble very much those associated with “Biodiesel”, where the the prefix Bio- not only implies that its made of living organisms (in contrast to fossil fuels), but that it’s actually good for the environment.

The commercial for the Danasi PlantBottles suggest this by making a bottle grow out of a plant: Whereas the original idea of purity is based on making the water purer than nature, the PlantBottle is being represented as a natural product again. Or at least up to 30%, for the time being.

A satirical overdubbing of the posted by the Nautical Tribe (a TV show I didn’t know so far) calls attention to this paradox: Designed to make a difference, as the PlantBottle claim goes, turns out to be Designed to fake a difference and a greenwashing attempt.

This entry was posted in Bottled Water, Green washing, Water Privatization. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The Dasani Paradox

  1. Mr. Morse says:

    I’ve been buying ur water for about two years now.. Just about 6 cases a month. The other day I bought a case and opened a bottle and it had the worst taste.. It taseted like plastic and dirt or carboared. I was so dissapointed so I tryed a couple more and it was the same thing. So I looked for this sight and also found out tht this water had stuff in it tht could cause cancer. R u jokeing? I don’t if I will ever drink the water again. U must reashure me tht I won’t get cancer and reenburse me for the crap water I bought the other day plus some

    • wolfw says:

      Dear Mr. Morse. We are sorry to hear that you had negative experiences with the bottled water of your preference. However, we must inform you that the authors of this site are in no way affiliated with the producers of any bottled water and thus also not the producer of the bottled water you have bought. Second, we do not claim that Dasani water causes cancer. Dasani water was taken off the British market in 2004 because the level of bromate, a potentially carcinogen substance, exceeded UK legal standards. You can learn about the circumstances of this incident in the follow article:

      Link to CNN article.

      However, we do not claim that this product causes cancer or will harm your health in any way. We suggest you address your complaint to the producer of your bottled water product.

      Yours sincerely.

  2. Andrew says:

    There’s nothing wrong with British tap water. It’s one of the purest in EU. But if you want to make it even better (tastier, smoother to drink) you should try Flaska bottle which changes tap water’s structure and lowers genotoxoc chemicals by 45%. You will never stop drinking tap water wherever you go.

    • odissi30 says:

      Dear Andrew, thank you for your comment. We are serious and critical about water use. And unfortunately your comment is an advertisement in disguise. Regards.

  3. Besaw879 says:

    Great post.. i’ll be sure to tweet.. I have unedited excerpts from local and national articles at http://www.midtennwaterproblem.com these articles will help better understand what’s hidden in our most precious resource.

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