Stop 6,400 petrol stations across Australia selling water in single-use, plastic bottles

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Problem
We got rid of single use plastic bags – now it’s time we got rid of single-use, plastic water bottles.

Out of the 50 billion bottles of water being bought each year, 80% end up in a landfill, regardless of well meaning recycling programs. Millions of plastic bottles also end up in the ocean causing pollution and harm to marine life. In addition, there are considerable costs and environmental impacts resulting from road transportation and refrigeration of bottled water. 17 million barrels of oil are used in producing bottled water each year. Bottled water costs 1,000 times more than tap water. 

Why is buying bottled water a problem? 
(information courtesy of University of Wollongong)

1. It costs you money. Although people consistently complain about the price of petrol we spend more per litre on bottled water. If you were to buy enough bottled water to drink the recommended intake of 8 glasses per day this would cost you approximately $3650 a year (based on $2.50 for a 500mL bottle). The same amount of tap water would cost you just $0.98 per year. 

2. It uses lots of energy. This is because of the extraction of water, manufacturing of plastic bottles, transportation, refrigeration and recycling/disposal all use electricity and fossil fuels such as diesel and petroleum.

3. The production of bottles wastes finite materials. Plastic is a petroleum based product. Petroleum is a resource that is in limited supply and fast diminishing. We should be using this for essentials not disposables.

4. Bottled water creates large amounts of waste. Plastic bottles are among the 10 most common rubbish items picked up on Clean up Australia Day. Australia recycles only 36% of PET plastic drink bottles, so around 373 million plastic water bottles end up as waste each year.

Solution
There are 6400 service stations in Australia (33% owned by BP, Caltex, Coles and Woolworths). The remaining two-thirds of Australia's service stations are operated by more than 3690 businesses – most of them small Australian businesses.
Between them all those businesses currently sell millions of bottles of water every year for between $2 and $6 each.

A branded, stainless steel, reusable drink bottle can be bought in bulk wholesale for less than $2 (and branded to promote the retail outlet/ petrol station selling it). A commercial grade, chilled, filtered, still and sparkling water unit can be purchased for a few thousand dollars.

If 6,400 service stations in Australia installed chilled, filtered, still and sparkling water units and sold their own, branded, reusable drink bottles, we could substantially reduce the use of single use plastic water bottles in just a few years, eliminate the associated transportation and refrigeration costs and environmental impacts, and increase the profits made by petrol stations from selling water. The petrol stations can brand the reusable stainless steel drink bottles and even take the credit for doing something to help the environment!

If the petrol stations were really clever, they'd provide the branded, reusable drink bottles to customers free as part of their loyalty program and donate a percentage of their profits from selling filtered chilled and sparkling water to an environmental cause  . .  it's another reason to get people visiting their retail outlets and buying other items while they are there!

Consumers can still have convenient access to chilled, filtered and sparkling water while on the move (for a similar price) but they don't need to waste single-use plastic water bottles in the process. Everyone's a winner (apart from the bottled water industry - sorry - soft drink in plastic reusable bottles comes next!) 

Personal story
I’m no environmental expert, I’m just a middle aged mum from Wagga Wagga, but any idiot can see that our consumption of single use plastic water bottles is unsustainable.

Stopping petrol stations from selling millions of single use plastic bottles won’t completely solve the problem, but it’s a good start and a way to help train consumers to carry their own reusable water bottles.

Politicians and many businesses won’t lead this change because companies like Coca Cola Amatil are too powerful. The bottled water industry generates more than $700 million a year in Australia.

This has to be a people powered movement. Australia is ready!

Peter Garrett tried to eliminate single use plastic bags in 2003 and it took almost ten years for that initiative to catch on. Maybe this idea can get support and eventually reduce the consumption of plastic bottles and train consumers to utilise reusable stainless steel water bottles.

I'm calling on BP and Caltex service stations to lead this initiative. Namely, Amanda Woollard and Richard Pearson who lead their retail businesses.  The South Australian, ACT and Tasmanian Governments were the first to ban single-use plastic bags.  Maybe they can do the same for single-use, plastic water bottles.

Watch the excellent ABC 'War on Waste' episode exposing the ridiculous farce of the bottled water industry -  https://iview.abc.net.au/show/war-on-waste  WAKE UP AUSTRALIA  - tap water is actually better for you in may respects than bottled water. (TRUE - for example, some commercial mineral water currently sold in Australia actually contains acid levels beyond the recommended Australian tap water safety standards and will rot the enamel on your teeth - hard to believe but it's true!). 

Some bottled water companies admit to using Sydney mains for their water source - claiming people just want convenience and are happy to purchase filtered tap water at a 180,000% mark up - https://www.news.com.au/finance/money/tapwater-sold-as-bottled-water-gets-180000-per-cent-mark-up/news-story/5928b6bc076e7715bd5398bef6e139da

Tap water is free and it does not hurt the environment or your health like some bottled water.  Please sign this petition to help patrol stations understand their role in creating a solution.



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