Consumers Take Control

14 Jul 2009

An Australian town has voted overwhelmingly last week to ban the sale of bottled water in order to reduce associated carbon emissions resulting from bottling and transporting.

Local businesses in rural Bundanoon, roughly 150km southwest of Sydney, have agreed to replace all single-use bottles with re-usables that can be filled at any of the town’s free water fountains. The ban is voluntary, which each of the town’s 50 to 60 businesses making their own decision on implementing the change and bearing any loss of sales.

‘Bottled water has a role to play in various parts of Australia and many parts of the world but we don’t really need it as we have a wonderful municipal water supply,’ said local businessman and leader of the campaign, Huw Kingston.

Conservation organizations such as the WWF have protested against bottled water, arguing that it wastes resources to bottle and transport water that may not be any healthier than tap water. ‘We are very much hoping that this move will get Australians to rethink the half billion dollars a year that they spend on bottled water,’ said environmental group Do Something! Chairman, Jon Dee.

The vote follows a voluntary move for meat-free Thursdays in the Belgian town of Ghent in May. As the first in Europe to attempt a town-wide vegetarian diet for one day a week, Ghent’s residents hope to decrease greenhouse gases and reap the health benefits associated with a vegetarian diet.

Bundanoon’s bottled water campaign spread quickly; prompting the government of New South Wales to announce an immediate ban on state departments and agencies purchasing bottled water. ‘We’re not a bunch of raving greenies,’ said Kingston, ‘but this is us showing we can work together as a community for sustainability.’

Source: Reuters

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