2009 Bottled water ban in Bundanoon

Residents of Bundanoon, in the New South Wales Southern Highlands, voted to ban the sale of bottled water in their town, making it the world’s first bottled water-free town.  The bottled water ban was supported by around 99 per cent of the people who attended a meeting in the local hall.

The bottled water ban was organised by a local businessman, Huw Kingston. In a meeting at the Bundanoon Memorial hall that attracted nearly 400 people, only two did not support the ban.

Plastic bottles are mostly made from a petroleum product known as polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and they require huge amounts of fossil fuels to both make and transport them.  Studies have also shown that chemicals leached from the plastic can accumulate in the human body.

The waste problem created by the bottles is considerable, as most do not end up being recycled. They end up in landfill or in oceans, where they leach dangerous chemicals and take around a thousand years to decompose.

The main concern of the advocates for Bundanoon’s voluntary plastic bottle ban was the carbon footprint associated with bottling and transporting the water. The council agreed to install additional water fountains in the village, to make drinking water available to the public.

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