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SYDNEY (AFP) – 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 environmental impact 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 bottled water 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 climate change 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.

Tags: conservation, environment, sustainable-living

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Replies to This Discussion

Hime distillation and filtration is as good, if not better than, commercial methods. Commercial water has nowhere near the quality control a household is capable of.
If people are worried about drinking chlorinated water, then the easy answer is to place some water in a jug and leave it in the fridge for 24 hours, as for other chemicals in the water they are in such small quantities that they bare no real risk to human life, but again you could run standard tap water through a reverse osmosis filter to remove 99.9% of impurities, the down side to reverse osmosis water filters is they waste 25% of the water you put in, and they are usually so effective at removing particulates they remove all the good stuff from the water, meaning you then start having to add chemicals.... and we end up at square one again..
Brita filters! People have been tricked (for lack of a better word) into thinking that bottled water is more pure or clean, or that it contains fewer chemicals than tap water. Certainly there are some places that the tap water quality is a concern, but for the vast majority of places (at least in the U.S.) the tap water is as clean or cleaner than bottled water. And if you're concerned, a simple at-home filtration device is simple and much more cost effective than bottled water.
You still have choice. There are so many ways that water can be purified at home. For people with such illnesses, bottled water is NOT the best choice. The only thing bottled water offers is convenience.
what you may not know is that A LOT of bottled water is just tap water. So if your worried about getting clean water with out all the added chemicals is get your own water filter like brita or something like that. plus this way plastic bottles wont be all over the damn place.

Fiona is absolutely right. I am a Canadian with a chronic, inflammatory disease called Interstitial Cystitis. I have spent several thousand dollars of my kids' college money installing very expensive filters all over my house, including the water main. Nothing helps. If i drink tap water, the pain in my bladder is unbearable. In my city, there is already a by-law in place barring the sale of bottled water in city-run buildings and I am terrified that an overall ban might be next.

 

Not all of us drink bottled water (and I can only drink a few specific brands) to be trendy or hipster. I quite literally depend on bottled water to live.

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