MILAN – Elizabeth R. Berman and Rachel K. Johnson of the Department of Nutrition and Food Science at the University of Vermont studied the environmental and health effects of the removal of bottled water from university campuses. This ban was initiated to limit the use of plastic. However, after a study lasting for over a year, it was proven that not only was there no reduction at all in the quantity of bottles, but also that by gravitating towards other drinks which are high in calories and sugar, the students were making unhealthier food choices. The research was recently published in the American Journal of Public Health.
The objective of the research was to establish how the elimination of bottled water can influence purchasing behaviour, the choice of alternative drinks, and the consumption of calories and added sugars amongst the younger generation, compared with the situation prior to the ban. A significant increase in per capita deliveries of high calorie and sugary drinks was observed. In short, without the sale of bottled water, the students gravitated towards other choices which were not very healthy. Moreover, the prohibition, which was imposed out of a need to reduce waste and prevent plastic from being deposited all over the campus, proved to be ineffective, since plastic bottles continued to appear in the parks and on the students’ benches. From the point of view of health, experts have commented that this policy has proved to be completely counterproductive.
The advantages of bottled water
Safety, quality and sustainability: these are the advantages of bottled water revealed by the Natural Hydration Council. These parameters shed some light on several aspects which are generally little-known or considered amongst consumers. Bottled water is classified as a food product and it must comply with the rigorous requirements of the EU and national food safety, as well as with the sector’s proper codes of health, hygiene and manufacturing practice. Besides guaranteeing the absence of contamination, the producers are committed to the protection of the mineral springs. Finally, amongst all the other drinks, bottled water is one of the products with the lowest environmental impact.