(Huw Kingston's original proposal published page 11 of the March 2009 issue of Bundanoon's local newspaper - The Jordan Crossing Gazette or JCG)
Bundanoon - A Town With No Bottle?
The Norlex water extraction issue has galvanized our local community like no other issue in recent times. Norlex plans to truck water to Sydney for bottling
and sale at great profit to them but no economic or social benefit to Bundanoon. This, along with much recent media coverage, got some us of thinking.
Could we make Bundanoon Australia's First Bottled Water Free Town?
One of the Directors of Norlex told me that they wanted to put Bundanoon on the map. On the map for all the wrong reasons. On the map for our part in
an industry that, by any measure, represents all that is wrong with consumerism and marketing. An industry that Clean Up Australia has described as a
global environmental disaster and that was described by the Sydney Morning Herald as ‘The New Social Poison'. There is even Calm; bottled water for
dogs infused with flower essences.
Some 400,000 barrels of oil annually are used to manufacture the plastic that goes into the bottles that slake Australia's thirst for bottled water
Only 30% of these bottles are recycled
In 2008 Australians were expected to spend more than $450 million on packaged water
The average price of bottled water is $2.53/litre against 1 cent/per litre for tap water
The beverage industry loves bottled water because the costs of producing it are minimal. Just think of the ingredients in bottled water!
We in Bundanoon have a fine product called Bundanoon Natural Tap Water!
How about we put Bundanoon on the map for some good reasons? How about we make Bundanoon Australia's First Bottled Water Free Town. It would
offer so many positives for the town. Showing we care about our local environment and the global environment, reducing the landfill contribution of
plastic bottles, reducing littering of our town and very importantly it would add to the positive image of Bundanoon. An image of a friendly place to live or
visit, a great place to walk or cycle, a Tidy Town with an active, concerned community.
Won't the businesses selling bottled water suffer?
A number of businesses sell bottled water. The response to the idea has been generally positive. However any scheme introduced should consider these
businesses and if necessary look at ways of compensating them and helping them resist the pressure from the major beverage companies.
What about visitors to the town or residents who want a drink of water and don't want a soft drink?
Quality drinking water is readily available from taps whereas you cannot get a soft drink from a tap. Many people want to drink water and it is commonly
recognized that most of us should drink more than we do. Many people are reluctant to ask a shop/café to fill an empty bottle for them, feeling that they
should really be making a purchase.
We could produce a large number of sports bottles printed for example ‘Welcome to Bundanoon - Australia's First Bottled Water Free Town, Ingredients
- 100% Bundanoon Natural Tap Water'. These bottles are either available free of charge or charged for to cover the cost and stop people wasting them.
These bottles could be available from the shops/cafes in the village.
Then we organize the erection of Bundanoon Bubblers around town with clear signposting: ‘Bundanoon Natural Tap Water available here'. As an
attraction in town we could also build The Big Bundy Bubbler; a huge tap with a number of taps beneath it in a highly visible town location.
The scenario. Visitor enters local shop.
‘Mate, where's your bottled water'
‘Sorry we don't sell bottled water in Bundanoon but here, have one of these (hands over a Bundanoon bottle) and help yourself from the Bundanoon
‘Hey, thanks mate. What a brilliant idea. What a community!'
But surely if you produce plastic bottles you're just replacing one with another?
What you are doing is producing something that will be used hundreds of times; not thrown away after one use. You are producing one light shipment not
trucking, heavy water around the country. You are not draining the aquifer from underneath some community such as Bundanoon. You are promoting the
town and also showing ways around the issue of bottled water. Anyway many people will have their own bottle.
Why does this benefit Tourism?
Tourism in Bundanoon is based on the image and attractions it offers. The image includes the village atmosphere, the natural setting, a safe place to walk/
cycle. The attractions include the places to stay, to shop, to eat and drink, the National Park and State Forests, the cycling and walking trails. Being bottled
water free will garner Bundanoon good media coverage and will add to the positive image visitors take away of our village. It will also hopefully give us all
another reason for feeling proud to live in Bundanoon.
Who can help us achieve this goal?
In order to make Bundanoon; Australia's First Bottled Water Free Town we first and foremost need the support of the local community - business and
residents. It will also require the support from those running events in Bundanoon so that bottled water is not sold at Brigadoon, The Highland Fling, etc,
etc. The support of Wingecaribbee Shire Council is vitally important to ensure the investment, infrastructure and signage can be in place to make the
initiative work. Grant funding can be applied for from both public and private sources.
The Don't Bore Bundanoon committee has discussed the idea. As a first step we want to float it to the community. Your views, both positive and negative,
are welcome on this. Perhaps you'd like to get involved to bring it about?
Have we got the bottle to do it?