When you start to make changes to your waste habits, they do eventually become so ingrained that you kind of forget what life was like before you adopted these new ways. I’m finding I (naively) assume other people are also educating themselves and making similar changes, but a media release we received earlier in the month titled Push for Aussies to kick the bottled water habit during Keep Australia Beautiful Week would appear that is not the case, at least not when it comes to bottled water.
Every year Australians spend more than $736 million on bottled water, and almost 375 million of our bottles end up in landfill and waterways, impacting the environment and marine life.
This is one of the easiest swaps you can make! We all are very fortunate to have one of the cleanest water sources in the world delivered right to our kitchens. It just takes a little planning to remember to fill up at home. And if the environmental benefits to not buying bottled water aren’t enough of an incentive for you, think about your wallet — at 2000 times the cost of tap water, plastic bottled water is a very expensive convenience!
The key to ensuring I would take my own water out with me all the time was to invest in a good quality, stainless steel bottle that keeps my water cold even when it has sat in the car for hours on a hot day. Having to lug around a large water bottle all day while in and out of the car running errands, only for it to be lukewarm when I needed a drink would have me thinking “Why bother when I can grab a bottle of cold water when I need it?”
Yarra Valley Water Managing Director, Pat McCafferty said that Australia is making great strides when it comes to eliminating plastic in general, but bottled water remains a huge area for improvement.
“Australians have really gotten behind eliminating plastic bags and packaging, but bottled water is still a problem which is ironic as Australia’s tap water is amongst the best in the world,” Mr McCafferty said.
Mr McCafferty said that changing our mindset and making more of a conscious effort to fill a drink bottle before leaving the house would make a big difference.
“If we changed our thinking a little so that leaving the house with a drink bottle is the norm like taking your keys or phone with you, then fewer people would need to purchase bottled water on the run.”
I’m not entirely sure that most bottled water is purchased on the run. Judging by the cartons upon cartons piled up in the drinks aisle at the supermarket people must buy the bottles in bulk. If you have a genuine reason for not being able to drink your tap water, consider buying your water supplies in bulk containers, such as the 15 L water cooler bottles which can be taken back and refilled.
“It may be tempting to think that buying one extra bottle won’t hurt, but all of us adopting this mindset leads to millions of bottles in landfill,” Mr McCafferty said.
Facts about bottled water that leave a bad taste in the mouth:
• It takes more than three litres of water to produce one litre of bottled water.
• A plastic water bottle takes around 450 years to break down.
• Australia’s annual use of bottled water generates more than 60,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.
• By 2025, scientists anticipate there will be more plastics in the ocean than fish.
• One in two marine turtles have eaten plastic.