Bottled Water Research (on the web)

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• In 2007, the last year for which detailed global data were available, more than 200 billion liters of bottled

water were sold, largely in North America and Europe. [ Source ]

• the annual consumption of bottled water in the US in 2007 required an energy input equivalent to between

32 and 54 million barrels of oil or a third of a percent of total US primary energy consumption. We estimate

that roughly three times this amount was required to satisfy global bottled water demand. [ Source ]

• 2.7 million tonnes of plastic are used to bottle water each year worldwide (EPI, 2006) [ Source ]

• In 2006, 1.5 million barrels of oil were used to make the 26 billion litres of bottled water sold in the US.

Enough to fuel 100,000 cars for a year. (EPI, 2006) [ Source ]

• According to the most recent research, tap water costs about $1.20 per tonne, while one tonne of the pre-

bottled variety costs as much as $3000. [ Source ]

• Australia’s annual use of bottled water generates more than 60,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions - the

same amount that 13,000 cars generate over the course of a year. [ Source ]

• Some bottled water turned out to be simply filtered tap water. Others contain extremely high amounts of

bacteria. And two leading brands we tested were found to be tainted with chemical disinfectants and

aluminium. [ Source ]

• Jon Dee, founder of Do Something!, believes we've fallen for one of the biggest marketing scams of all time.

“For Australians, of all people in the world, to be spending half a billion dollars buying 600 million litres of

bottled water every year, it makes no sense. The simple fact is we've been conned by the bottled water industry

and they're laughing all the way to the bank.” [ Source ]

Environmental Impact

• Producing the PET bottles to satisfy global bottled water demand thus required approximately 300 billion MJ

(th) of energy (three million tons of PET times 100 000 MJ(th) /ton). Given that a barrel of oil contains around

6000 MJ, this is the energy equivalent of approximately 50 million barrels of oil per year. [ Source ]

• The total energy required for bottled water will typically range from 5.6to10.2MJ or as much as 2000 times

less than energy cost of producing bottled water. (In comparison, producing tap water typically requires about

0.005 MJ.) [ Source ]

• When considering the lifecycle of a bottle of water, its energy costs are the equivalent, on average, to filling up

a quarter of each bottle with oil (Source: Pacific Institute) [ Source is a Word Document, with a hyperlink ]

• Bottled water has a higher carbon footprint per litre than tap water - more than 300 times the CO2 emissions

per litre in the case of some imported brands. [ Source ]

• NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change estimates that 200ml of oil is used to produce,

package, transport and refrigerate  each litre bottle of bottled water. As a result, at least 50 million litres of oil is

used in the manufacture and distribution of bottled water in Australia every year. [ Source ]

• Professor John Dodson from Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO)  says there

are sustainability concerns over industrial use of 18,000-year-old groundwater on New South Wales' central

coast. Last year, the Coca Cola company won a court battle to use 66 million litres of it a year for a bottling

plant. "If you are to use the resource quickly, it's gone forever." he said. [ Source ]

• A British study has found that drinking a bottle of water has the same impact on the environment as driving a

car a kilometre. Its production generated up to 600 times more CO2 than tap water. [ Source ]

• 70% of the bottles we drink each year, weighing a massive 75,000 tonnes, end up in land fill. [ Source ]

Action Against Bottled Water

• In Ontario, [Canada] 13 municipalities have already passed legislation to phase out the provision and sale of

bottled water on city/town properties and promote pubic municipal water in a "turn on the tap" movement.

[ Source ]

• Meeting today [March 7, 2009] in Victoria, B.C., the National Board of Directors of the Federation of

Canadian Municipalities (FCM) passed a resolution encouraging municipalities to “phase out the sale and

purchase of bottled water at their own facilities where appropriate and where potable water is

available.” [ Source ]

• Last year for World Water Day, the Campus Bottled Water Free Zones Campaign was launched with the

creation of over 40 zones on 15 campuses – clearly rejecting the privatization of water – a resource essential to

life, as embodied by bottled water. In June, the Canadian Federation of Students endorsed a motion which

included opposing the use of bottled water and the privatization of public water services. [ Source ]

• “Other beverages sold in PET plastic beverage containers have similar environmental impacts as bottled

water. However, other beverages are not available from the tap. Passing a policy to promote tap water and

phase out bottled water sets a precedent that challenges well marketed notions that bottled water is healthier

and safer than tap water.” [ Source is a Word Document without an online hyperlink ]

• On 1 December 2008, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson announced ‘Tap Top’ as the £5,000 winning

design is a competition to create a carafe to serve tap water in restaurants, cafes, bars and hotels throughout the

capital – underpinning the city’s commitment to providing high quality drinking water whilst reducing the

environmental impact of packaging and transporting bottled water. [ Source ]

• “Beginning July 1, 2007, there will be a prohibition from any city department or agency purchasing single

serving bottles of water using city funds, unless an employee contract specifies usage.  This prohibition will

apply to city contractors and city funded and/or sponsored events.  There will be no waivers from this

prohibition.” Office of the Mayor, Gavin Newsom, City & County of San Francisco regarding the Permanent

Phase-Out of Bottled Water Purchases by San Francisco City and County Government. [ Source ]

• “Yet each year, Americans consume about 31.2 billion liters of bottled water, requiring nearly 900,000 tons of

plastic made more than 17 million barrels of oil. That adds up to more than 2.5 million tons of greenhouse

gases. As a city, we have an opportunity to lead by example and make a difference for the future of our planet.

That is why I'm asking all of you to consider kicking the bottled water habit and switching to our city’s own

water supply. As part of that effort, this afternoon I will be announcing an executive order that will phase out

the purchase of bottled water for city-owned facilities and city-sponsored events by the end of the year.” March

13, 2008, Greg Nickels, Mayor of Seattle. [ Source ]

• Minneapolis [USA] recently committed to spending $500,000 on 10 artist-designed fountains that will be

placed in areas of high foot and bike traffic. [ Source ]

• Research company Pure Profile conducted a survey of 1000 Australians on bottled water usage for the Bottled

Water Alliance: Over 78% percent of people believe there are not enough bubblers available to the public. 90%

do not know where their local water bubblers are, and do not believe they are easy to find. 85% are concerned

about the safety or cleanliness of public bubblers. 66% said that if greater number and quality of bubblers were

available, they would buy less bottled water. [ Source ]

• The United Church of Canada is urging its 590,000 members to stop purchasing bottled water, calling water a

"sacred gift for all life," and is asking governments to update water policies to ensure access to clean water now

and for future generations. [ Source ]

• In November 2007 the [NSW] Department of Environment and Climate Change informed the 4,000 staff

members in 120 offices of Australia's most populous state that bottled water would no longer be provided.

[ Source ]

• Jon Dee says the simple solution to such a wanton waste of energy is to take tap water back to the people. He

champions the return of the old-fashioned bubbler delivering tap water - filtered and free.  “… every time

people are using these it is less bottled water they are buying and we estimate the bubblers in this corso will

stop the useage of 200,000 bottles of water every single year. [ Source ]

• Sixty minutes viewer: “Do you think campaigns should be set up, to 'advertise' the use of tap water instead of

bottled water?”Jon Dee: “Absolutely, that is the reason why Do Something launched this campaign to promote

tap water over bottled water. And this is tremendous scope for people to save a lot of money while helping the

environment at the same time.” [ Source ]

• Mosman Council voted to adopt the initiative - allocating funds for 14 filtered bubblers. Culligan Water will

donate bubbler filtration equipment to all other councils taking part in the Bottled Water Alliance project. "This

new breed of bubbler is stylish, easy to maintain, vandal proof, wheelchair accessible and has enough water

pressure to full a reusable bottle with water that's as good if not better than the bottled water being sold in

shops." Tim Gordon, Managing Director of Culligan Water. [ Source ]

• In November, [2007] the city council of Chicago, beleaguered by swelling landfills and a stretched budget,

placed a landmark tax of 5¢ on every bottle of water sold in the city in order to discourage consumption.

[ Source ]

Related Community Environment Campaigns

• Coles Bay's Ben Kearney is the 2005 Tasmanian of the Year for his huge individual campaign to improve and

protect his environment by ridding it of plastic bags. Ben's efforts […] put Coles Bay on the international map

as the first place in Australia to ban plastic bags. He led his own community campaign in 2003 which saw all

retail outlets, at Coles Bay, including the two supermarkets, ban plastic check-out shopping bags. In the first 12

months, Ben and his committee were responsible for stopping the use of 350,000 plastic check-out bags. Ben

Kearney has inspired people across Australia and around the world by creating and coordinating Coles Bay

Australia's first plastic bag free town. [ Source ]

• Ben Kearney has inspired people right across Australia and around the world with his successful

environmental campaign to make Coles Bay, Tasmania, 'Australia's First Plastic Bag Free Town'. The local

bakery owner worked for months in partnership with Planet Ark to achieve this landmark result that was

realised in April 2003. All retail outlets in Coles Bay, including both supermarkets, have banned plastic check

out shopping bags. As a result, Coles Bay was awarded the Environmental Excellence Award by the Tasmanian

Government. And Ben was awarded the 2005 Local Hero award under the auspices of the Australian of the

Year awards. [ Source ]

• Winners of the sixth Tasmanian Awards for Environmental Excellence were announced on Saturday, 15 May

2004. Community Award Winner - Coles Bay Community and Tourism Association - Plastic Shopping Bag

Free This year, 200,000 people will experience shopping without plastic shopping bags. It’s not the same

people who visit Coles Bay every year, it includes Australians and international visitors, therefore, the reach of

this project has been, and will continue to be, enormous.Through our initiative to ban plastic shopping bags the

rest of Australia and also the world have been made aware of our achievement and some have already followed

our example. This proves that great ideas in a small community can inspire change on a very large scale.

[ Source ]

• "Going plastic bag free has been great for our business and great for our town. It has really bound the

community together and united us with this common goal.” Ben Kearney, initiator of Australia's first plastic

bag free town. [ Source ]

• "Going plastic check-out bag free has been a really positive experience for the whole town," says Matt Cross,

the local coordinator of the Huskisson Plastic Bag Free Project. [NSW] "It has really galvanised the

community.” [ Source ]

• In under a month, working with friends and showing her film, [Rebecca Hosking] persuaded all 43 Modbury

shopkeepers to replace the plastic bag, the symbol of the throwaway society, with reusable cloth bags. What

started as a six-month trial period became a permanent voluntary project, and the town's traders now reckon

they have avoided 500,000 bags ending up in the environment. The idea that people do not have to wait for the

government or supermarkets but can do something themselves has proved powerful. Thousands of people in

Britain wrote to Hosking asking how to do the same and, led by individuals or councils, nearly 80 towns, from

Bradford and Hebden Bridge to Berwick, Dorchester and Llangollen, now say they intend to introduce their

own bans. Last week the 33 London boroughs declared they would seek a law on the issue. This week the

campaign went into another league as Gordon Brown declared, in his first significant green speech, that he

would call a meeting of all supermarkets to see how the plastic bag could be eliminated. [ Source ]


The Do Something 'Bottled Water Alliance'

Polaris Institute’s Inside the Bottle campaign

Energy implications of bottled water by Environmental Research Letters

Community Organizing Package: Ideas and Tools for a Campaign Challenging the Bottled Water Industry


London On Tap

The book: Bottlemania - How water went on sale and why we bought it

Take Back the Tap

Film on DVD Flow

( Photos: Warren McLaren / INOV8 )