Where do we start? Okay, put your hand up if you are happy to pay 1,000 times extra for the cost for anything. No hands showing? Now put your hand up if you would buy a bottle of something down at the shops for $3.50 that you can get for free with little effort at home. No hands showing? Well our hands should be up – this is what millions of us do every day. How did this happen?
This is what we do with water in Australia. Australians purchased over 726 millions litres of water in 2015.1 Therefore Therefore Australians may have spent up to $2 billion dollars on bottled water in 2015.2 It is pumped out of the ground, packed, loaded on a truck and chilled before it gets to us. This creates over 60,000 tons of greenhouses gases a year in Australia alone.3. Is this wasteful?
The making and moving of the plastic bottles for all this water needs more than 460,000 barrels of oil.4 Less than 40% of these bottles are recycled; the rest ends up in the tip or in our waterways.5
Recycling just one bottle saves enough energy to power a television for 90 minutes. Recycling makes a big difference; the more we recycle the less raw materials we use.
When Australia was first introduced to bottled water in the late 1980s, we all thought it was a joke. Aussies would never be so foolish as to buy bottled water. Well, the joke is on us! In a triumph of marketing over reason we are being conned by the advertising of big corporations.
Where does all this bottled water come from? Clean, peaceful rivers and bubbling mountain brooks as shown on the bottles? Not so much. It’s mostly bore water pumped from the ground at almost zero cost.
Can we get back to the tap? This is a growing movement that is gaining momentum – from Paris to San Francisco, to Melbourne, to restaurants and to schools. Growing numbers of people are saying ‘goodbye’ to bottled water and returning to the humble tap. Is this a radical move or simply the way forward?
Does it seem odd to ship bottled water around the world, load it on a truck, haul it to a shop, where they are sold for a final time for a single use?
Around the world some councils and schools are beginning to ban the use of bottled water replacing them with … a reusable container.
Some of us feel we need to drink filtered water, there are heaps of filter jug systems available or you can get a filter fitted to your kitchen tap.
A simple change can make a difference.
1) https://www.businessinsider.com.au/bottled-water-costs-2000x-more-than-tap-2013-7,https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/jun/01/should-i-stop-drinking-bottled-water, https://www.smh.com.au/business/consumer-affairs/bottled-water-producer-admits-consumers-paying-for-plastic-not-pure-safe-water-20160715-gq6oif.html.
5) https://thewaterproject.org/bottled-water/bottled_water_wasteful, http://www.belmont.edu/green/bottled_water.html