Banning bottled water? How Marrickville Labor Councillors blocked it

By Max Phillips

I’m watching with interest as the Southern Highlands town of Bundanoon has decided to ban the sale of bottled water and Premier Nathan Rees sniffs a populist moment and bans bottled water in NSW government departments.

bottled-waterIn April, The Greens moved a motion on Marrickville Council that would have banned Council from distributing bottled water, educated the community about disposable plastic containers, and installed modern drinking fountains for people to fill containers with filtered tap water.

Unfortunately, the Labor Councillors and conservative independent Councillors Macri and Hanna voted against this amendment.  The vote was tied and the Mayor Sam Iskandar used his casting vote to defeat the ban on  bottled water. 

From the minutes of the April Council meeting:

The MOTION was put to the vote and was TIED.
For Motion: Councillors Olive, Byrne, Kontellis, Peters, Phillips and Thanos
Against Motion: Councillors Iskandar, Macri, O’Sullivan, Wright, Tsardoulias and Hanna
The Chairperson used his Casting Vote and the MOTION was LOST.

The main reason Labor articulated that they would vote against the motion seemed to be Councillor Wright’s distrust of Sydney tap water and the fluoride that is added.  That and their penchant to vote against anything The Greens put up.

Now they look pretty foolish, when even the Labor Premier says that we should be discouraging the use of bottled water!bottle on road

Labor in Marrickville like to say they are progressive and ‘Labor Left’, but often their decisions make you wonder.  Expanding car parks in Petersham, cutting the bike budget, laying astroturf at heritage Arlington Oval in Dulwich Hill, and voting against the motion to ban bottled water.  There isn’t much that is ‘progressive’ on display!

Stopping Marrickville Council from stocking and distributing bottled water is a no-brainer.  Those who really want it can always bring their own.

Bottled water is bad for the following reasons:

  • Litter and land fill
  • Oil use in production
  • Carbon emissions in the transportation of bottled water (water is a heavy product)
  • Plastic finds its way into the oceans where in some areas there is more bits of plastic than plankton!
  • Economic – it is an unnecessary product
  • Health – lack of fluoride for younger people can cause problems.

Many cities and councils around the world have banned the use of bottled water in their institution.  Paris, Florence, New York, Los Angeles, Liverpool (UK), San Francisco, Toronto.

A modern filtered water in the Manly Corso

A modern filtered water fountain in the Manly Corso, Sydney

Even the Local Government Association of NSW wants to discourage the use of bottled water.  But does Marrickville Labor listen?  No, they’re stuck in a reactionary anti-green rut and are looking pretty foolish now.

Manly has installed excellent filtered water fountains encouraging people to refill empty bottles.  The motion moved by The Greens would also have seen similar fountains installed in public places in the Marrickville LGA.

For more information read the motion Distribution of bottled water and public water fountains that went before Marrickville Council in April.

The Greens will move another motion to stop the distribution of bottled water at Council events at the July Council meeting.

Vote in the poll on bottled water.

Video on plastic accumulation in the oceans:

“Every piece of plastic ever made since the 1950s still exists…”

update someone sent me these facts:

In 2004 154,000,000,000,000 litres of bottled of water was sold worldwide. It took 81,000,000,000 barrels of oil to make the bottles that held that water and released 2,500,000 tonne’s of CO2 into the atmosphere.
•       It takes three litres of water to make every litre bottled water.
•       86% of plastic water bottles end up in landfill.
•       Bottled water costs about 10,000 times the cost of tap water. I’ll say that again – bottled water costs about 10, 000 times the cost of tap water. I can’t think of any other product on earth that we get pretty much for free but that we choose to pay a 10,000 mark up on.
•       Humans spend $100,000,000,000 dollars a year on bottled water. It would cost roughly 1/3 of that to provide clean and safe drinking water for every person on earth.
•       Bottled water is not better for you. We have some of the best tap water on earth here in Australia and tap water faces far stricter quality standards than bottled water does. In fact 40% of bottled water is just tap water with additives.


  • I was drawn to this article because of the great image/poster! As I read on I got angry at the stupidity.

    For one, fluoridation of water is dangerous and not necessary. It causes many health problems when ingested at the TOXIC levels that are put into our drinking water. Check out where they actually get it from: watch the video. All of it.

    Two, watch the documentary FLOW, and you will REALLY see why the bottled water industry, and the privatization of NATURAL RESOURCES FOR PROFIT is literally killing people and our planet as well.

  • marrickvillegreens

    Hi Nichole,

    I’ll have to disagree with you on flouridation of water. I think that it is of great benefit for public health (like immunisation) and that any dangers/risks of flouridation are far outweighed by the health benefits and the misery they would cause if water was not flouridated.

    Thanks for your comment.

    Max Phillips
    Greens Councillor
    Marrickville Council

  • I’d love to see an actual peer review study that shows a any link whatsoever between fluoridation of tap water and an increase in any fluoride related diseases, but so far every one I’ve heard of has either been published in the popular press, and not peer review journals, or fell apart once it was reviewed. That said, fluoridation is just, frankly, stupid. It wastes quite a bit of money, and provides a minimal return that doesn’t replace basic oral hygiene. Moreover fluoride dissolves in most in-fridge water filters, as it vaporizes into the air rather rapidly… So just drink tap water.

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