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The control freaks come for the bottled water

By johnboy - 15 July 2009 120

[First filed: July 15, 2009 @ 10:52]

It started with a very local issue in the Southern Highlands where Bundanoon residents got the hump with their own water being trucked back with a 300x markup.

But now the tired recurring voices of rigid social control here in Canberra (particularly on 666 this morning) are calling for the ACT to follow the lead.

Don’t get me wrong. I think that people who make a habit of buying bottled water are indeed idiots. By which I mean the daily brigade.

But it’s a fashion thing, and the fashion has come from countries where the tap water is not as good as ours is (most of the time).

So yes, the vast millions spent on bottled water do seem poorly allocated, but have you seen what people spend on other junk they don’t really need?

Bottled water, as opposed to $600 handbags even has some pretty important benefits to society. You don’t need a lot of gray hair to remember the last time metropolitan drinking supplies were unsafe here in Australia.

IIRC back in 2003 here in Canberra we were being advised not to drink our tap water immediately after the fires.

At no cost to the taxpayer the bottled water industry provides an emergency drinking water supply (a pretty *good thing* TM to most people surely). It also provides, again at no cost to anyone but bottled water buyers, the infrastructure to quickly and efficiently deliver water as needed to where it’s needed.

So by all means choose to drink tap water from a re-usable bottle. I do it myself. But until we shut down every super market (all the transport! all the packaging!), let’s not lose our heads over the bottled water industry just because of a puritan streak inside many of us (myself included) disliking followers of fashion.

Especially when those followers of fashion are funding a very useful emergency amenity.

(As for whether the ACT PS should buy bottled water for its staff? Seriously, you don’t have anything bigger to worry about?)

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120 Responses to
The control freaks come for the bottled water
Swaggie 11:54 am 15 Jul 09

Anyone jumping on this particular Band Wagon needs to take a long hard look at their priorities in life.

If you don’t agree with bottled water don’t buy it or don’t drink it – simple and if the greens REALLY want to do something useful introduce a 10c recycle scheme along the lines of the SA one. Then again the chances of the Greens doing anything really useful in this town appear to get fainter with every passing day.

FC 11:48 am 15 Jul 09

Nexus6 – I’m pretty sure that cold water would be provided for..
On a seperate (but related) pet peeve.
I hate having to pay $6 for a 250ml bottle of water in a night club, or choose to drink warm water. It really annoys me!! grr
Bring back the days where they would re fill your bottle for you.

Jim Jones 11:46 am 15 Jul 09

You’ve got to be a bit dense not to take a bottle of water for you if you’re going for a bike ride in the summertime.

Honestly, 10 years ago, if someone had told me that there’d be a huge market for bottled water, I would have thought they were stupid.

But here we are. Just goes to show, a company can take something that is essentially free, whack it in a fancy bottle and market it, and then sell it at 4000% markup, and people will buy it. They’ll fall over themselves to shove money in your pockets, all the while deluding themselves that ‘it tastes different’ (it really is just tap water in a plastic bottle, if it tastes differently it’s because petrochemicals have leached into the water from the bottle). Just goes to show how stupid most consumers are, really.

That said, you can’t legislate against stupidity. An awareness program about the environmental impact of pointless water buying is a good idea though.

nexus6 11:36 am 15 Jul 09

cant wait for the middle of summer, go for a bike ride or something, decide to stop and buy a cold drink and be forced to drink softdrink. what a load of crap. stopping people buying a healthy product? if you dont like it dont freekin buy it!

chewy14 11:28 am 15 Jul 09

Good thinking Madame, beat me to it.

FC 11:27 am 15 Jul 09

Madame workalot.
The difference in taste is probably due to things like fluoride and chlorine in tap water.
People can purchase filters at a relatively cheap cost to get rid of these things.
Of they are a regular purchaser of bottled water, they would have payed off their filter system with the amount they used to buy water for, quite quickly.

So there would still be a choice.
And I’m guessing you would also still be able to buy those big bottles of water that people deliver to workplaces.

chewy14 11:26 am 15 Jul 09

Morgan said :

johnboy said :

How does bottled water differ from every other packaged product on the shelf?

Water from the tap is a perfectly good product, Soft drinks, beer, and french champaigne arent’t piped to your house for $500 per annum.

When an alternative like tap water exists it seems more wasteful to buy it in bottles.

Well then we should ban Coke but allow Homebrand Cola. I mean homebrand cola is a perfectly good product.

Madame Workalot 11:22 am 15 Jul 09

Morgan said :

johnboy said :

How does bottled water differ from every other packaged product on the shelf?

Water from the tap is a perfectly good product, Soft drinks, beer, and french champaigne arent’t piped to your house for $500 per annum.

When an alternative like tap water exists it seems more wasteful to buy it in bottles.

While that may be true, water from the tap has a completely different taste. Why shouldn’t we have the choice to buy water that tastes better than free water? It’s almost like choosing between homebrand cola and coke – do you think that we should only ever have one choice?

FC 11:09 am 15 Jul 09

“If it’s an environmental problem, then why are we not tackling all bottled drinks?”
Because they’re choosing to tackle the bottled water issue..

Morgan 11:08 am 15 Jul 09

johnboy said :

How does bottled water differ from every other packaged product on the shelf?

Water from the tap is a perfectly good product, Soft drinks, beer, and french champaigne arent’t piped to your house for $500 per annum.

When an alternative like tap water exists it seems more wasteful to buy it in bottles.

FC 11:07 am 15 Jul 09

johnboy said :

How does bottled water differ from every other packaged product on the shelf?

You can’t get coke from bubbler or a tap.

mred 11:06 am 15 Jul 09

The idea of banning bottled water is stupid. If it’s an environmental problem, then why are we not tackling all bottled drinks? South Australia’s container deposit scheme causes increased rates of recycling according to 666 this morning. So I think there’s merit in that.

At least water is a healthy choice sitting next to all sorts of sugar filled nasties.

Morgan 11:06 am 15 Jul 09

I am from Bundanoon orginally, and I do feel a little bit proud that we made it to world news status for something other than someone killing themselves in the adjoining National Park.

Choice is a very important thing, and in this case it will be Bundanoon businesses that will be imposing the ban on the sale of bottled water. No one will be lynched for getting out of their car with a water bottle.

Personally I dont buy water for the spring part, but that I am thristy and prefer water to quench my thirst, if there were clean alternatives such as public bubblers that were cleaned regularly, or the dispensers that Manly Council have there would be a lot less demand from consumers for this product. I for one would buy Actew water in a bottle if it came from a fridge.

johnboy 11:04 am 15 Jul 09

How does bottled water differ from every other packaged product on the shelf?

FC 11:02 am 15 Jul 09

I don’t really think the choices on the voting are sufficent.
Isn’t the initial ban to do with the environmental impact of bottled water rather than dollars being poorly spent.

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