“Please, South Africa, this World Water Day, take a few minutes to remember just three things.”
This is the plea from South African National Bottled Water Association (SANBWA) CEO, Charlotte Metcalf, ahead of World Water Day taking place on March 22.
Her list includes:
- Remembering that drought is still a major concern in many parts of the country. Regardless where we live, we should all continue to behave as responsible water management citizens by, for example, repairing leaking taps and pipes in our places of work and at our homes, minimising as far as possible the water we use when we wash dishes and clothes, and installing water saving appliances and grey water systems, if we can afford to. Given that hand hygiene is essential to containing the spread of COVID-19 and many other infectious diseases, we should regularly disinfect our hands with soap or alcohol-based hand rub for 20-seconds before rinsing, making certain to only turn the tap on when we are ready to rinse. (Source: https://www.worldwaterday.org/2020-home/share/covid-19-be-safe/)
- Ensuring that we responsibly dispose of used items and do not litter. Packaging, especially plastics, cooking and motor oils, discarded batteries, pesticides and the like are polluting and – in some instances – poisoning our water sources both above and below ground.
- Buying bottled water from responsible bottlers, such as SANBWA members. If you do supplement your tap consumption with packaged beverages, make sure to buy brands from bottlers who are committed to responsible environmental stewardship, bottle only from sustainable water sources and use packaging that is designed to be recycled.
“SANBWA’s environmental stewardship protocols address measures to ensure source sustainability and protection, water usage minimisation, energy efficiency, solid waste minimisation, and support post-consumer recycling initiatives,” she said.
“Further, as an organisation, SANBWA was among the first worldwide to require its members to follow specific recycling guidelines. In this respect, it was advised by PETCO in South Africa (the local plastic industry’s first joint effort to self-regulate post-consumer PET recycling).
“As such, SANBWA’s members only support PET bottle suppliers which contribute to the PETCO recycling levy; have established a drop-off recycling centre for the public at their bottling facilities and all distribution centres; added the ‘please recycle’ sign on all their labels; and use recycling friendly materials or recycling optimal materials as stipulated in the SANBWA Bottled Water Standard and published on www.petco.co.za/ag3nt/media/set_999699/Petco_Design_Fact_Sheet.
“More recently, SANBWA joined the SA Plastics Pact, launch on January 30 this year, with the intention to change the way plastic products and packaging are designed, used and reused to prevent plastics from ending up in the environment, and sets out some ambitious targets to be met by 2025. (https://sapt.co.za/sa-plastics-pact-a-first-in-africa/)
“The best way to ensure you are being environmentally responsible when consuming bottled water is to look for the SANBWA logo on the bottle. Alternatively, seek out the resin code which must be embossed into the bottle within the ‘recycle’ triangle. Those numbered 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 are most often used for food and beverage packaging in South Africa, are therefore safe to come into contact with your food and beverages, and can be recycled – so please do.”