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AUS: Bottled water firms criticise bans

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Bottled water companies in Australia have hit back at what they describe as "misguided and illogical bans" in a number of institutions as a result of environmental concerns.

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The University of Canberra recently became the first institution in Australia to go bottled water-free, with campus eateries given until World Water Day on 22 March to phase out the beverages, according to the Canberra Times.

The move is the latest in series of moves against bottled water by different institutions in Australia.

However, the Australasian Bottled Water Institute has hit back by emphasising the industry's corporate social responsibility credentials. It said that it has supplied around 750,000 bottles of water to communities that have been affected by fire, flood and cyclone disasters in Queensland and Victoria.

Chief executive of the institute, Geoff Parker, said the bottled water industry has a long history of supporting communities.

"Many Australian bottlers donate supplies of water to local emergency service workers making the industry a valuable community service," Parker said. ''This underlines the importance of bottled water, not just as a healthy hydration option every day, but as a vital resource when communities need it most.

"While the anti-industry campaigners continue with their misguided and illogical bans, the nation's bottlers are getting on with the task of ensuring communities in need right around the country have access to one of life's necessities - water," he added.

Plastic bottles comprise around 40% of waste going to landfill, according to campaign group Clean Up Australia. The firm's Rubbish Report 2010, published this month, revealed six of the top ten rubbish items removed by volunteers were beverage containers. PET drink bottles came in at number four, while plastic bottle caps were number six.


Sectors: Soft drinks, Water

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