Bottled water: Why so popular? A case study from a university campus community

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Journal Article

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Burgin, S. Webb, T. and Kasbarian, A. (2016). Bottled water: Why so popular? A case study from a university campus community. Sustainability: The Journal of Record, 9(1),25-30.

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Bottled water is marketed as convenient, better tasting than tap water, and a healthier, pure alternative to sugar-sweetened drinks. In countries with reliable clean tap water, bottled water often receives bad press, including calls for its ban. When such a ban was proposed for the University of Western Sydney, Australia, a survey was undertaken to investigate current bottled water use and alternatives if sales were banned. We found more than half of respondents used bottled water for convenience, approximately 50 percent purchased water off campus, most consumed less than five bottles per week, and few purchased more than 10 bottles weekly. Many refilled bottles with tap water. None of the following reasons for drinking bottled water were strongly supported: taste, health, convenience, or conservation. We concluded that carrying a branded water bottle was a fashion item, and that a ban on its sale would not make a major difference to consumption or numbers of discarded drink containers.

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