Should bottled water be banned?

July 9, 2009

The residents of Bundanoon in Australia, a picturesque tourist destination southwest of Sydney, have voted to rid their town of bottled water to reduce their carbon footprint. Tap’s good enough, they say.

Organizations like conservation group WWF have long campaigned against bottled water, saying resources are wasted in packaging and transporting a product which may be no safer or healthier than tap water while selling for up to a thousand times the price.

But the industry, not surprisingly, disagrees. A ban would reduce consumer choice and possibly tempt the thirsty masses to start drinking less healthy alternatives if all they could buy in the chilled cabinet of their local shop was sugary stuff like colas.   

“The environmental footprint of one bottle of locally produced water is much smaller than a tin of canned tomatoes imported from overseas, some imported cheese, or French champagne,” says a spokesman. “We need to keep it in perspective.”

Do you think a ban would work, or be desirable, in Britain?

13 comments

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Good example of where does one and who should decide to stop manufacturing, packaging and distribution of any product given its CO2 emissions?

Before anyone adopts the moral high ground on bottled water, just take a look round your house and indeed at your house, the construction of which used and wasted immense amount of energy, causing high CO2 emissions.

Posted by mark | Report as abusive

Looks as though Nanny is alive and well and living in Australia. It must be her ugly sister who keeps bugging us in the UK.

Banning things is the way of little Hitlers and we need no more of them than we’ve already got. But what WOULD be a good idea would be to put a refundable charge on all recycable packaging such as plastic bottles, then kids and environmentally-minded people can earn themselves a few pennies and the country won’t be suffocating under piles of rubbish. I suspect that this is more in line with what the citizens of Bundadoon are trying to achieve.

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

The subject is now a waste of time. Climate change may only be agreed with, and not challenged.

Its more of a matter of faith then science now, how else can the mindless acceptance of the ice core samples be explained. Temperatures rose, 80 years afterwards so the the carbon levels. Cause and effect reversed without any explanation! Carbon was the result, not cause of temperature increases.

Posted by B Jenkins | Report as abusive

Even if tap water is good enough, surely it’d set a better example to ban unhealthy fizzy soda drinks (which also come in bottles) rather than water. I’d guess they’re not up for the legal battle against global giants like Coca Cola though.

Posted by Daniel | Report as abusive

Tap water isn’t good enough! It may not have any living bugs in it, but it has in it every chemical known to man, including bleach and disinfectant, which cannot be removed because of the prohibitive cost. It is diluted poison.

Posted by Richard Kaminski | Report as abusive

Well done people of Bundanoon, I agree 100% with your decision.
I have never understood the type of people who buy expensive bottled water, as tap water tastes the same as bottled water. Maybe its a snob thing, maybe these people are unaware the bottled water manufacturers are scamming them, I just can’t fathom them out.
The people of Bundanoon are not trying to make the whole world right, with regards to fizzy soda drinks, that statement was brought up by the bottled water companies who are worried more towns will follow suit.
The decision to ban bottled water was decided by the citizens of Bundanoon and not the (Nanny)
Perhaps a compromise would be to continue offering this product but to also arrange an advertising campaign discouraging bottled water.

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

If the bottled water should be banned, don’t you see, the same conditions would apply to the colas which also come in bottles.

For that reason, one cannot say tap water is good. I can agree only 50 % with their decision

What I’d like to know, is why Copper-Zinc water filters aren’t yet available in the UK as far as I can see?

They might negate the need for bottled water.

Posted by Daniel | Report as abusive

WITHOUT DOUBT BOTTLED WATER SHOULD BE BANNED! Often the water is drawn from un-sustainable sources and denies other – essential use – of a vital resource. The packaging consumes energy we cannot afford to waste on such consumeristic notions and further contributes to atmospheric pollution of our planet. The discarded waste packaging also contributes to pollution. Mass transport is the only way to provide water for those who NEED it. Bottled water only provides profit for the seller and false comfort for those selfish few who can to afford to deny those who need it!

Posted by Andrew C | Report as abusive

Tap water isn’t good enough – sometimes not even if boiled. I know of a place not far away in Europe where you have to use bottled water for anything involving human consumption.

Anyway surely the logic of the “sustainability”, “waste” and “pollution” arguments is that tap water should be banned, not bottled water? In fact, surely it follows that mains water should be banned? If we all had to go to standpipes in the road with buckets in order to flush our loos or wash ourselves or our clothes there’d be more water around than you could shake a stick at. Buying a few bottles of water a day is a drop in the ocean compared to mains water use.

Posted by Matthew | Report as abusive

With fluoridation in the pipeline in many of our towns (and on the enforced increase), surely there ought to be an alternative to tap water. But, as with all of those drinks quoted above, this does not need to be distributed in plastic bottles. In Germany, most drinks are still in glass bottles which are distributed with a deposit that is handed back when the bottles are returned.
Glass bottles can be re-used!

Posted by Corrie R | Report as abusive

Place half a pint of tap water in a pint glass, leave for 4 hours, take a good sniff of it, mmm metaltastic

Posted by WhateverNext | Report as abusive

no, of course not. i like drinking water out of bottles, and so do lots of other people. bottles are inherently good for carrying water in.

what we should do is stop throwing said bottles in the sea/river/road/bin/countryside etc etc etc. use them again for carrying, err, water in…

Posted by mark | Report as abusive