Stop buying the bottles, for purest water turn on the tap

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Water companies were challenged yesterday to give away their own branded bottles and take on the designer labels in a battle for supremacy of the drinking water industry.

Water companies were challenged yesterday to give away their own branded bottles and take on the designer labels in a battle for supremacy of the drinking water industry.

The industry was urged to promote its own businesses vigorously as a report showed that the quality of tap water in England and Wales was better than ever.

The Drinking Water Inspectorate said some companies were starting to give away water-holders, but urged more British companies to follow the lead of their American counterparts and "go beyond the tap" to give customers what they wanted. Michael Rouse, the chief inspector, said companies could provide free bottles and work with fridge makers so they installed water jug fixtures inside every new unit.

"I would encourage water companies to market water because it's good for their image, apart from anything else," he said. "We have excellent tap water and you don't need to buy bottled water."

He said he had a bottle from Denver Water that he had used every day for two years.

Yorkshire Water has already launched a health education programme giving away bottles to schoolchildren to stress the importance of drinking water.

Environmentalists said such an initiative could increase rubbish. Friends of the Earth said 1.5 million tonnes of plastic was used each year by the bottled water industry. More than 80 per cent of plastic was used once and thrown away. Clare Oxborrow, a campaigner, said: "It's hard to see people refilling a bottle given to them when they don't refill those from a supermarket."

The Drinking Water Inspectorate reported that 99.86 per cent of 2.8 million tests in 2001 met the standards required. In 2001, the number of samples failing to meet standards was 4,054, compared with about 50,000 in 1992.

Comments