Love your bottled water? We take a look at what’s in the bottle, what we are paying for it, and some sustainable alternatives for H2O lovers.

We all need water to live, but let’s face it: bottled water is all about convenience. That’s why, according to a recent report in Brisbane Times, consumers are paying 2000 times more for the convenience of drinking out of a bottle than straight form the tap.

What’s more, not all bottled water is from “natural springs” and other attractive-sounding places. The survey by Fairfax Media of bottled water sold in Sydney has found seven out of 34 brands are just “purified” tap water. That is, tap water that has been filtered.

For example, the Nature’s Best brand treats tap water and adds words like “pure” and “safe” on the label of a 600-millilitre bottle, typically marked up by 1720 per cent to $2 a bottle in shops across Australia.

Variety of different shapes and sizes of plastic water bottles, outdoors with natural lighting.

Subtle health claims for bottled water are misleading, says Gary Mortimer, marketing expert at Queensland University of Technology, noting the creative use of labels, colours and design by brands. “Marketers can’t claim bottled water is better for you than tap water, so they use things like ‘fresh’, ‘natural’ or use images like snow-cap mountains to lead us to believe that,” he said.

And what of all those one-use plastic bottles? According to Sustainable Queensland, the Sunshine State is now the most littered State in Australia with beverage containers and plastic packaging representing the bulk of that rubbish. According to the Keep Australia Beautiful Litter Index, the incidence of litter in Queensland is 41% higher than the national average.

But there’s some good news: the Queensland Government has announced a container recycling scheme due to start in 2018 to help get drink cans and bottles off our beaches, and out of our parks and public areas. Queensland is looking at the NSW model, where people will be able to take empty drink containers to a collection depot, or place it in a reverse vending machine to receive a 10-cent refund.

Water fountain.

Water on the go: some convenient alternatives

Get it from the tap (there’s one near you)

Good old tap water – it’s free, plentiful and healthy. Most of Brisbane City Council’s parks have water fountains and bubblers. Some also have taps that overflow into a bowl for your thirsty dog. Grab your refillable drink container of choice and see BCC’s tap map for your nearest free drink!

Refill with water3

Brisbane-based eco startup water3 has network of spring water kiosks around South East QLD that provide low cost chilled, still and sparkling water. The machines are cashless and you can use your own bottle or a refillable water3 bottle. The water3 stainless steel bottles are embedded with a chip that allows the you to store credit. Customers can purchase credits through PayWave on the machine, via the water3 app or at the website. The company’s aim is to eradicate single-use plastic to stop land and sea pollution from further damaging environment and wildlife.