Consumers change their mind about bottled water

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The International Bottled Water Association suggests that consumers are changing their opinions about bottled water, pointing to an overturn of several bans in the US.

A July 20 statement by the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) claims that public opinion has shifted away from banning bottled water and that consumers are providing more support for the product which the IBWA describe as ‘healthy and convenient.'

Several US states including Virginia and the city of San Francisco had previously banned bottled water in order to reduce the amount of environmentally damaging waste created by the product.

However on July 9, officials from the San Francisco mayor's office announced they were reconsidering the ban on the sale of bottled water at parades, fairs and other outdoor public events. Bob McDonnell, the governor of Virginia reversed the ban on public agencies purchasing single-use bottled water products for use in official meetings on July 11; and Concord in Massachusetts, which completely banned the sale of bottled water last year, overturned the decision on July 8.

Single-use bottled water has been a target for environmental campaigners due to the amount of waste the industry produces; the latest figures estimate that 90 percent of bottles are not recycled, 38 billion water bottles ended up in landfills throughout the world in 2006 and that these bottles will not begin to decompose until 2076. Worldwide, 1.5 million barrels of oil are used each year to make plastic water bottles.

In a bid to convince the public of the benefits of bottled water, the IBWA has released a three-minute video of an animated water bottle extolling the virtues of the industry. The video is available to watch at .

A March 19 report by industry consultant Zenith International found that bottled water sales in the United Kingdom grew by 1.4 percent throughout 2009. The average consumption of bottled water across Europe as a whole is 105 liters (27 gallons) per year per person: Italy has the highest consumption at 197.4 liters (52 gallons) and Finland the lowest at 16 liters (4 gallons).

Europe is the leading region in sales as a number of European brands of bottled water are sold overseas. The biggest consumers of bottled water are America, Mexico, China and Brazil.