A couple of places in the US, (like Concord) and in Australia have banned single use water bottles outright. They’re tired of the waste, tired of the landfills overflowing and they’ve become very aware that huge food companies are using public water and selling it back to the people whose tax paid for it in the first place. While old plastic bottles have their uses and are easily recycled the majority of plastic ends up in landfill or bobbing around the oceans. At a local level, it reverses the trend towards more and more convenience and gives people the push to keep a continuous us bottle for their water. An enterprising mind in any kind of shop could fit a filtered-water station that you could refill from for a fraction of the cost of paying for a disposable bottle.
Some American colleges are looking at the same deal and hopefully it is an idea that will spread; Harvard have already brought the ban in. Even if it might be a shock to the system for retailers to ban the bottle overnight, it can easily be brought in gradually, allowing the two models to be used side by side for a year or so.
This can further be put into context when you hear that Nestlé argued at the UN that water should not be a human right but a consumer comodity annd should be privatised. There are a few very basic human rights that go beyond law into simple fact. We need food, we need shelter and we need water. A few days without water and we go the way of the dodo… Nestlé and a lot of other massive food corporations would have it that it’s fine to deplete an aquifer in Africa to the point where they cause a drought and then sell the water back to some of the poorest people in the world when a year ago they could drink from a well. How do they sell it back? In slabs of little plastic bottles. You don’t need to be a genius to figure out that this is incredibly short sighted and dangerous.
Still, if there is a goundswell of support for moving away from plastic bottle waste, that’s a good thing and maybe the food companies are a little panicked by that.