- Carys Mainprize
Do you remember when water wasn't sold in plastic bottles?
I remember getting water at the drinking fountain, it was fun, free and they were everywhere! In fact i'm sure people used to gather at the drinking fountain to have a chat, they were very social places. Nowadays you would be hard pressed to find a working drinking fountain. So it got me wondering about how the industry of "Bottled water" came about.
The first time I remember seeing bottled water it was packaged in a beautiful glass bottle, and it was french. At the time I thought that it must be very different from the water we got from the tap, it looked so elegant and chic and was also very expensive. Bottled water started to become an occasional item at the restaurant table and more brands and flavours were added. As time went on plastic has become used much more frequently as the container of choice, although the glass bottles are still stocked in most supermarkets they are a more expensive option. In fact when I looked at the drinks aisle today I was very surprised at the shelf space given to water. Bottled water is a huge seller, an industry built in the last 30 years and a major contributor to the 10 million tonnes of plastic waste produced every year. In 1976 20 m litres of bottled water were consumed, in 2016 that figure had increased to 3.20 b litres, that's around 50 litres per person a year.* If that is in a 500ml bottle each person would be responsible for 100 single use plastic bottles per year.