by Michael dEstries
Categories: Causes, Film/TV
Tags: .


Last year’s Sundance Festival saw the complimentary hand-out of more than 50,000 single-serve bottles of water. That waste is just a drop in the bucket of the 38 billion plastic water bottles thrown away each year by Americans. Festival organizers, however, wanted to reduce this impact and for 2009 have teamed up with FilterForGood — which encourages filtered tap water over the bottled variety.

“Sundance Institute is committed to reducing our environmental impact during the festival and throughout the year,” said Jill Miller, Managing Director of The Sundance Institute. “Thanks to Brita and Nalgene, we will reduce the need for 50,000 bottles of water at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and we hope to be completely bottled water-free in 2010.”

Robert Redford backed up that commitment yesterday by appearing at a press conference table with filtered water pitchers and reusable FilterForGood Nalgene bottles.

Beyond Sundance, the initiative has also made an impact in television — with NBC’s reality show The Biggest Loser cutting out 64,000 water bottles over two seasons by switching to filtered tap and reusable bottles. “The FilterForGood campaign not only benefits the environment by reducing plastic bottle waste and resource consumption, but it also saves money by cutting out the expense of bottled water,” said Drew McGowan, Brita Senior Group Manager. “From homes to film sets and festivals, leveraging this eco-friendly initiative could help groups stay within budget, especially during tough economic times.”

That last bit certainly makes sense — bottled water is such a silly luxury item that people should cut it from their budget entirely. Companies like Brita and organizations like UNICEF’s Tap Project have a great opportunity to educate on the cost savings of drinking tap or filtered water.

To find out more, visit the FilterForGood campaign here.

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

View all posts by Michael dEstries →
  • G M Mauro

    And just how are all these esteemed stars, Mr Redford included, getting to the festival, walking? That would only leave a real footprint not a carbon one. This reeks of commercial endorsement ( a PRESS conference??) for products made from #7 plastic which leech bisphenol A (BPA)a known carcinogen and are not as easily recycled as are the PET #1 plastic most bottled waters are packaged in. Since all liquid refreshments are in some sort of container why not ban all of them. That would make for a very parched and sober audience.

  • Tom Lauria

    I guess they never heard of recycling at Sundance? Please identify a beverage that doesn’t come in container.Water is the healthiest liquid a person can drink. Why are these people knocking the consumption of water. Is Brita not making a profit? What if a person prefers natural spring water? If tap water is so delicious, why does Brita even exist?

  • James L.

    I’ve been to Sundance and know what a high-profile platform it is to talk about film as well as the milieus and social issues that are reflected in them. In that sense, it’s good that Sundance has taking steps toward being more environmentally conscious. More screenings and discussions related to the environment are also helpful. There’s still more that can be done, such as getting facilities that host the festival to conserve energy throughout the year, and take steps to recycle as much as possible. They can also ask attendees to take steps in their daily lives to help improve the environment. Just getting the word out on steps individuals can take in their own lives would make a difference, such as the steps at the Practical Environmentalist or others. In addition, the festival and attendees can contribute to projects such as carbon offsetting. Organizations like provide information on these projects. These steps would help the festival keep pace with the environmental sensibility many attendees have and expect from a forward-thinking festival.

  • jamie lynn

    i think this is fantastic! it’s such a little thing to change and it will make such a great impact. every time i see someone without a reusable bottle, i want to cry! recycling is a great option, but it requires energy to remake those initial resources, whereas using a sigg or a nalgene means all that energy can be saved.

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