Australian Town Becomes First to Ban Bottled Water

Earth Times:

Bundanoon on Saturday became the first town in Australia, and possibly the world, to ban the sale of bottled water. The 2,500 residents voted in July to stop shops from stocking single-use bottles and switch to retailing bottles that are refillable for free at taps around the town.

“As politicians grapple with the issue of climate change, we should never forget that each and every one of us can make a real difference at the very local level,” shopowner Huw Kingston told local paper the Southern Highland News.

“As was demonstrated by the intense media interest from all around the world, it’s extremely heartening that our small town has become an international role model for grassroots action.”

The tourist town of Bundanoon, 120 kilometres south of Sydney, showed it was fun to be green by putting on a parade and a party for the switchover.

It also demonstrated that environmentalism and entrepreneurship can coexist. Collectors were picking up souvenir switchover bottles at 29 Australian dollars (24 US dollars) apiece. The standard refillable bottles retail for the same price as the superseded reusable ones.

Jon Dee, head of environmental lobby group Do Something, reckons Bundanoon is the first place in the world to impose a ban.

“Huge amounts of resources are used to extract, bottle and transport that bottled water, and much of the packaging ends up as litter or landfill,” he said. “Bottled water is a menace and a marketing con that’s been visited on Australians by the bottled water industry and what we are trying to do is expose that con for what it is.”

Environmental group Eco Worldly estimates that the energy required to produce bottled water is 2,000 times that to produce tap water.

Kingston assured visitors that they would not be run out of town if they arrived with bottled water. “Nobody is going to get lynched for carrying a bottle of prepackaged water down the main street of Bundanoon,” he said.

Kingston hatched the Bundy-on-Tap idea after soft drinks company Norlex Holdings applied to pump water out of a local aquifer to supply the bottled water market.

The initiative was put to the townsfolk and there were 355 votes in favour of banning the sale of bottled water and only one against.

9 Comments on "Australian Town Becomes First to Ban Bottled Water"

  1. NICE!!!!! Everyone should learn from a good example and spread the word.

  2. Ya know, I hate bottled water too, but really? You're going to ban _water_? But I suppose it's to be expected from the same people that are trying to censor the internet. Hey, maybe next they'll ban electricity. I mean, do you know how much energy that stuff takes to produce? Plus all the waste of producing and transporting electronic devices like laptops and refrigerators and desk fans….

    Besides, it probably takes a lot less energy to reuse one of those pre-filled water bottles than the empty kind. I mean, do you really need a quarter inch of plastic to protect your water while it's sitting in the cupholder of your car? The bottled water isn't to blame for people throwing the bottles out. Essentially what these 355 voters just told their government was “No, we aren't responsible enough to take care of ourselves – we need you to do everything for us!”

    • It's hard to see the link between the federal government imposing internet censorship and a country town voting to ban the sale of an item they don't want in their community. As much as I hate my government for their .net blacklist, fair is fair. Someone has to do something bold to stand up against the tide of plastic waste, even if it turns out to be a mostly symbolic gesture.

  3. I can't quite agree with the concept of outright banning something by force of law, but I do understand their frustration at the waste that bottled water generates, both in terms of plastic garbage and in terms of fueling cliques of water profiteers who pillage aquifers around the globe for quick cash.

  4. sheymabuali | Sep 28, 2009 at 5:07 am |

    I think this is amazing and I hope the world looks at this as an example. All these reasons are exactly why bottled water should be more closely examined and realized as a farce, plus the fact that water, like air, is a human biological necessity and shouldn't be marketed and sold at all. I wonder if the people at Bundanoon know about Corporate Accountability International's “think outside the bottle” campaign.

  5. majestic12 | Sep 28, 2009 at 10:06 am |

    Not to be forgotten: plastic bottles leach toxic chemicals into water. Google it or start with this article:

  6. That's great news! 🙂

  7. What this article fails to reveal is the facts that the opposition to this bill was overwhelming because of the fluoridation of their water supply…and the city council still went against the will of the people.

    The Aussie's know it lowers their children's IQ and a slew of other problems…Now they have no options but to drink their poisonous community water!

    The news article hails it as a “win for the environment”…what B.S.

  8. jonathanstatski | Oct 12, 2009 at 10:59 pm |

    Good idea. Those bottles are a real waste. I wonder who the one against was.

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