Topo Chico Sparkling Water

overall Rating:

0.5

planets

Erika Wu
8/5/2021
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Topo Chico Mineral Water is not widespread through the United States, but after Coca Cola bought out the company, I have been seeing it more in California and decided to look into the product. While the sparkling water is popular with many people in Texas and the non-Texans that were able to find it, Topo Chico has not made any steps to highlight their sustainability and be transparent with their production process. Throughout the review process, it was very difficult to find information about how their mineral water is manufactured, and the information that was given was only about their company story and background. Coca Cola does not provide much information except for the different flavors of Topo Chico, so unfortunately the environment is not valued by the company and no effort is being made for the future. 

what it's made of:

1

Topo Chico’s water is drawn from underwater springs located in the Cerro del Silla mountains near Monterrey, Mexico. The limestone quarries of northern Mexico provide the waters' mineral properties. The Topo Chico brand is known for its glass bottle with a blueish tint, but I was unable to find how or where the bottles are made. Generally, I think that glass bottles are more sustainable than plastic bottles, but some more research informed me that glass has issues of its own. Glass is usually made out of sand or other natural materials like limestone and soda ash, but the process itself is very strenuous for the environment because emissions will be released from the burning of glass in furnaces, so it is reliant on fossil fuels. While glass is recyclable, glass bottles are often not recycled properly and end up in a landfill wot be buried or burned. 

how it's made:

0.5

Topo Chico’s website is pretty empty, with their front page only highlighting some artists that are designing special packaging for them. There is a history and FAQ page, but nothing address their manufacturing process or their initiatives. there is also no mention of their labor conditions or where any of their factories are located. On a separate blog page, it was explained that no one can visit the water springs that is in Topo Chico because they wanted to preserve the area and keep it sanitary. Topo Chico has supposedly been bottling the water from the special springs since 1865, but I wonder if the has stayed the same since the company’s beginnings. Since there is no information given, consumers cannot be completely sure if the water is truly taken from the springs and if the mineral water is still naturally carbonated. On a more concerning note, I came across some articles talking about harmful levels of PFAS chemicals in carbonated beverages, which can lead to severe health issues. PFAS stand for “per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances," and they are a group of man-made chemicals that have been used since the 1940s in everything from food packaging to stain-resistant fabrics. In the CBS News article, researchers found that Topo Chico has the highest amount of PFAS, which was 9.76 parts per trillion. A Coca Cola spokesperson has come out to say that safety and quality of the company's products is "always our top priority." In a more recent article from February, it was written that Topo Chico's PFAS had been cut down to 3.9 ppt, which is a good sign. However, these chemicals are still in the water and drinking large amounts of it cold potentially cause health issues. What’s interesting is that there are many blogs that rave about Topo Chico as the best sparkling water out there, so it seems that this research is not widely known to consumers. 

who makes it:

0

Because Coca Cola bought out Topo Chico in 2017, the huge company has now taken over the production and distribution of the product. Since Topo Chico has been a popular drink in Texas, many Texans were unhappy with the shift because Coca Cola would now expand the distribution of Topo Chico. Since Topo Chico’s website had virtually nothing related to sustainability, I decided to browse Coca Cola’s website. Immediately, I saw a section about Coca Cola’s initiative to replenish 100% of the water from their finished beverages to communities and nature, which was a goal that they apparently met back in 2015. They also have a goal to recycle 100% of their packaging by 2030. However, investigations have shown that Coca Cola has greatly exaggerated how sustainable they are by only counting one part of their water usage to act as their entire water footprint. Coca Cola only used the water that goes into their beverages, but left out all the water they use to in its agriculture, corporate supply chain, raw production, operations, and so much more. I was not surprised by the reality of Coca Cola’s initiatives, but it is extremely concerning that billions of people around that world are buying and consuming their products, and meanwhile, the company is greenwashing its products and values.