Australian town moves to ban bottled water

Bundanoon, a town of 2,500 in the Australian state of New South Wales may become the first community in Australia to ban the sale of bottled water.

The move towards a ban on bottled water came after a local businessman wrote an article for the town’s newsletter, which won the support of local business.

The town intends to replace plastic bottles of water in their stores with reusables and then provide directions to filtered water fountains to be installed on the main street. The concept will be put to local residents at a community meeting tonight and it’s believed there will be widespread support.

The businessman behind the initiative, Huw Kingston says there is “an overwhelming opposition to the marketing scam that is stilled bottled water.”

Bottled water isn’t just a marketing scam, it’s an environmental nightmare happening around the world.

In the USA in 2008,  bottled water consumption increased to almost 8.7 billion gallons. According to an entry on Wikipedia, an estimated 50 billion bottles of water are consumed each year in the US and around 200 billion bottles globally. If all of these bottles were lined up, they would stretch to the Moon and back 56 times.

So much energy and raw materials such as crude oil derived chemicals (petrochemicals) go into creating the plastic bottles and equally damaging to the environment are all the issues relating transporting that water.

Peter Gleick from the Pacific Institute offered a simple way to visualize the average energy cost to make the plastic, process and fill the bottle, transport bottled water and then deal with the waste – it would be like filling up a quarter of every bottle with oil.

Kudos to the good folks of Bundanoon – and let’s hope the bottled water ban goes ahead and doesn’t stop there!

UPDATE: New South Wales Premier Nathan Rees has announced a ban on all government departments and agencies buying bottled water.