Welsh businesses are already trying to cut their use of plastics – but what more can be done

One of the more remarkable aspects of the success of David Attenborough’s recent Blue Planet II series was the way it managed to highlight the catastrophic effect of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans.
Assistant producer on the show Sarah Conner told BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat: “There would rarely be a dive where I wouldn’t find some form of plastic from a thread of plastic fishing line, sweet wrappers or plastic bottles.” According to Greenpeace, 12.7 million tons of plastic ends up in our oceans each year and some organisations claim that, with about 165 million tons already in the seas, by 2050 plastic will outweigh fish.
Which is why it was heartening to read in last week’s Western Mail of a number of traders in Newport launching a free water refilling scheme to counter our throwaway culture.
As Joshua Knapman wrote, shops and restaurants in the town with a “Refill” scheme sticker on display will permit customers (and non-customers, too) to refill their water containers from the businesses’ taps.
The connotations of immortality are never far away from a brand which suggests its product’s “naturally pure and mineral-balanced water supports your body’s youth”.
As content marketing expert Kathryn Hawkins has pointed out, bottled water is not sold as an alternative to tap water, but as an alternative to fizzy drinks.
Hawkins highlights the Nestle Pure Life campaign, which attempted to persuade mothers to replace one sugary drink each day with the company’s water products.
The truth is, in the UK as in the US, public tap water is of outstanding quality.
Isklar Norwegian mineral water advertising campaigns have emphasised it’s icy, pristine ‘pure glacier’ quality, while the UK’s Highland Spring boasts that bottling water products from natural sources is all and everything we do.
The packaging and marketing may suggest the beauty of the natural world, but the reality of the production and distribution of bottled water means there are severe ecological consequences.

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