Australian town in 'world-first' bottled water ban

Sep 26, 2009
As increasingly concern builds about the environmental impact of bottled water,the little Australian town of Bundanoon pulled all bottled water from its shelves Saturday and replaced it with refillable bottles in what is believed to be a world-first ban.

An Australian town pulled all bottled water from its shelves Saturday and replaced it with refillable bottles in what is believed to be a world-first ban.

Hundreds of people marched through the picturesque rural town of Bundanoon to mark the first day of its bottled water ban by unveiling a series of new public drinking fountains, said campaign spokesman John Dee.

Shopkeepers ceremoniously removed the last bottles of water from their shelves and replaced them with reusable bottles that can be filled from fountains inside the town's shops or at water stations in the street.

"Every bottle today was taken off the shelf and out of the fridges so you can only now buy refillable bottles in shops in Bundanoon," Dee told AFP.

The tiny town, two hours south of Sydney, voted in July to ban bottled water after a drinks company moved to tap into a local aquifer for its bottled water business.

"In the process of the campaign against that the local people became educated about the of bottled water," said Dee.

"A local retailer came up with this idea of well why don't we do something about that and actually stop selling the and it got a favourable reaction," he said.

Dee said the 2,000-person town had made international headlines with their bid, which he hoped would spur communities across the world to action.

"Whilst our politicians grapple with the enormity of dealing with what Bundanoon shows is that at the very local level we can sometimes do things that can surprise ourselves, in terms of our ability to bring about real and measurable change that has a real benefit for the environment," he said.

The cash savings only made the project more compelling, he added.

"I think that's why this campaign is doing so well, because we're saying to people you can save money and save the environment at the same time," said Dee. "The alternative doesn't have a sexy brand, doesn't have pictures of mountain streams on the front of it, it comes out of your tap."

Activists say bottling water causes unnecessary use of plastics and fuel for transport. A New South Wales study found that in 2006, the industry was responsible for releasing 60,000 tonnes of gases blamed for global warming.

(c) 2009 AFP

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User comments : 8

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david_42
4.2 / 5 (6) Sep 26, 2009
The bottled water industry is proof the PT Barnum lives. Even in areas where the bottles are clearly labeled stating the source as a local supply, people still pay 1000 times as much for the product. "Evian" is "naive" spelled backwards.
daik
3.7 / 5 (6) Sep 26, 2009
how about a world ban?
renny
2.6 / 5 (5) Sep 27, 2009
on the one hand the residents of bundanoon will now be avoiding the estrogenic compounds that leach out of plastic bottle containers causing male sterility and cancer however before they go high-fiving each other they may want to check on the amounts of sodium fluoride that the SCA is pumping into their water supply. if saving the environment is what this is about then why not ban plastic soft drink bottles? or light bulbs? see where this is headed?
Noumenon
Sep 27, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Noumenon
4.7 / 5 (49) Sep 27, 2009
David, there are innumerable things existent in any civilized free society that some may find silly or pointless, or not efficient. To ban them is really to ban freedom. Again when oil becomes expensive to extract, plastic (which is oil based), will also become expensive to the consumer, at which time some inventive capitalist will develop a less expensive non-plastic container which will take over the market for such things,.. in a natural way. No need for naive no-nothing AGW fearing socialist do-gooder forcing an ad-hoc solution to a non-problem.

Noumenon
Sep 27, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
denijane
3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 28, 2009
I thought they banned the bottles because of the estrogenic leaks. I'm little disappointed.
BUT! I think that each city, region and country has the absolute right to ban whatever smart or stupid product they decide to. If they don't want it on their shelves, then they shouldn't have it there.
And please, don't extrapolate this to minorities rights - this water isn't healthy, the bottles are polluting and it's damaging their own water supply obviously. It's a win-win decision.
Velanarris
4 / 5 (2) Sep 28, 2009
If you look at the history of most civilized countries there was never a need for bottled water until it became a market product.

We used to pump clean drinkable water to every home until we started bottling it in stores. This lead to the rise of "personal sized" water bottles in which case towns and cities started spending less on maintaining their water supplies. With that conservation went down the tubes and so on and so forth. Minor social changes really do have larger impacts, but one must take caution to realize that a perceived small benefit can lead to large scale detriment.
Nartoon
1 / 5 (1) Oct 03, 2009
"I think that each city, region and country has the absolute right to ban whatever smart or stupid product they decide to."

Are you a communist? Then the state (any level) shouldn't have the authority to ban anything that otherwise would be perfectly legal, since water is legal selling it in a bottle is just capitalism at it's best/worst. If the people of Bundanoon don't want water in bottles then they shouldn't buy it, by speaking with their wallets the sellers and bottlers will quickly remove them from sale voluntarily.
SmartK8
not rated yet Oct 05, 2009
Nartoon: You missed the point in my opinion. They're not banning a bottled water, to force them to drink a tap water (that would be against the free market). The ban is about the bottles being an environment pollutant. The reason why it is news is that somebody acted upon this connection and made it clear to be so. As you can read they're not eliminating packaged water as a product, they're just making sure there's no plastic bottles. I agree, that this should rather be law (or some parameter within the law), that specifies why it is not allowed. But sometimes a government needs an inspiration. Otherwise I agree that environmentally safe packaged water should be allowed as a product, still I'm not that manipulated to buy it thou.