Bottled water updates 2007
Autumn 2007There have been no significant developments this quarter, although a volunteer is now helping Jeanette to follow up the missing replies from our survey of a wide range of English government departments and agencies on their policy on providing tap water for staff and for meetings and events. Media interest in this issue continues to be high, so it is likely that any new report would attract good coverage.
Summer 2007The bottled water issue continues to gather momentum, with Sustain getting more media coverage recently in the wake of San Francisco's mayor banning bottled water in official buildings, and New York promoting tap water. In addition, we are collecting replies from a very wide range of English government departments and agencies on their policy on providing tap water for staff and for meetings and events. The survey is not yet complete and, encouragingly, most – but not all - either already routinely serve tap water (usually via plumbed-in machines providing chilled water) or are considering changing to such a system.
We will chase the outstanding replies and consult with our informal group of expert organisations on how best to use this information to praise those with good policies, and encourage the laggards to do better.
Spring 2007Following the warm reception to the latest report in our Food Facts series – Have you bottled it? How drinking tap water can help save you and the planet – Sustain coordinator Jeanette Longfield arranged a meeting on 12 April. This brought together a small number of organisations wishing to maintain the pressure on the public, private and voluntary sectors to change their catering policies to favour tap water. The meeting was very positive, with each participant agreeing to undertake at least one initiative for the group. Jeanette undertook to draft letters to, for example, encourage other government departments and agencies to follow the lead taken by government departments and agencies such as Defra and the Food Standards Agency on serving tap water, and to seek a meeting by representatives from the group with David Cameron, as leader of the opposition.
Winter 2006-07The latest report in our Food Facts series – Have you bottled it? How drinking tap water can help save you and the planet – was published on New Year's Day 2007. The report attracted a great deal of media attention. An exclusive in the Daily Mail was followed by broadsheet coverage, radio interviews and a spot on the GMTV sofa!
A telephone survey allowed us to compare the positive new policy of the government's Food Standards Agency (to replace bottled water with filtered tap water) and similar policies by Defra and the Department of Transport, with large-scale, wasteful and expensive use of bottled water by several other departments and agencies.
We have since been contacted not only by a range of companies offering filtered tap water services, but also by a number of organisations who support our policy position in favour of tap water. Sustain Coordinator Jeanette Longfield is therefore planning to ask these organisations to sign a joint letter to government departments and agencies (and Parliament) asking them when they are planning to follow the FSA's lead.