| 27.08,09. 03:06 AM |
Eltham North Primary School bans bottled water
A MELBOURNE school has banned commercially bottled water in what is believed to be a Victorian first.
Pupils at Eltham North Primary School are being told to drink tap water and use only environmentally friendly re-useable containers.
Principal David Foley said the ban was part of the school's green policy, which includes re-useable containers for lunches.
"We have good water in Melbourne," he said.
"It's a waste of money buying plastic bottled water and most of the bottles end up in our waterways or in landfill.
"We don't want students to come to school using soft drink or bottled water."
It is estimated Australians spend about $500 million each year on bottled water.
A bottled water ban was introduced in the NSW town of Bundanoon last month.
But Mr Foley said his school had been moving towards the policy since installing waste-cutting water fountains last year.
"It's the way to go," he said.
"We're also using it as an education process to see what can happen if water goes off and what can happen if you're using a poor bottle like a soft drink container."
Mr Foley said bags wouldn't be checked for dodgy bottles, but staff would monitor the use of drink containers in class and in the playground.
Brendan Lynch, from water dispenser firm Aquabubbler, said his company had supplied eco-friendly products to hundreds of schools in Victoria.
"Kids are a lot more discerning about where they drink from these days," he said. "A lot of water troughs at schools are unhygienic."
Mr Lynch said it was crazy that people were buying so much bottled water during the economic crisis.
"A lot of those bottles can't be recycled and end up as landfill, it's a no-win situation," he said.
Opposition education spokesman Martin Dixon said he had no problem with the bottle ban.
"It's something that they have weighed up carefully," he said. "It's good to allow schools to do something innovative and environmentally friendly."