Manly beach drinking fountains

Can new-look fountains beat the plastic bottle?

THEY were once the yuppy accessory of choice, but the days of the plastic water bottle may be numbered. If a national campaign initiated by a group of Sydneysiders is a success, the humble drinking fountain will take its place.

Fountains offering free filtered water have been installed along Manly beach as part of a bid by the local council to slash bottle use and associated litter.As part of the pitch, filtered water company Culligan Australia — which provided free filters for the six Manly bubblers — will offer councils free filter equipment and half-price replacement filters into the future.

Mr Dee has form — he was the head of Planet Ark when it spearheaded the campaign against plastic bags. He concedes water fountains have an image problem — they often don’t work or are thought to be germ-infested — but he says this is why the Alliance is urging councils to upgrade their fountains, even if they don’t embrace filters.

“The aim is to reduce bottled water use by 20% over two years, or the equivalent of $100 million in market value,” Mr Dee said.

Municipal Association of Victoria president Dick Gross — who also chairs the National Packaging Covenant Council, which aims to reduce packaging waste — described the Manly initiative as “a very innovative and exciting idea” and said he hoped Victoria councils would follow. He said funding could be sought from private sources.

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