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Gothenburg turns on and turns to the faucet when thirsty

Gothenburg once again a pioneer when it comes to water

Gothenburg once again a pioneer when it comes to water

The city wages a reasoned and justified war on bottled water

On 26 May, the official website of Gothenburg announced that the authorities have stipulated that by the end of the year all of the municipal operations have to provide tap water rather than bottled water at workplaces and conferences. The reasoning behind this policy is two-fold: it will be cheaper and more sustainable.

Tap water in Sweden is just as safe and tasty as bottled water

The fact is that in a developed and industrialized country, such as Sweden, it does not make much sense to buy bottled water given that tap water is widely available and it is just as safe and tasty. What is more – bottled water is 300 times more climate-affecting than water from the faucet.

Production of the bottles emits 300 times more greenhouse gases than tap water. In addition, bottled or canned water means a lot of waste that must be disposed of and recycled, which in turn requires energy. Some of it also invariably ends up in the wrong place and contributes to plastic in the sea. Tap water is delivered without packaging directly to one’s home or office. It is fresh, cheap and locally produced.

When it comes to being water-wise, Gothenburg can boast historical credibility. It was the first city in Sweden to install a sewer system – its water and waste utility actually dates back to 1787. It is now also the first to point out this approach towards sustainability and to lead by example.

For this purpose, its utility department Kretslopp och water developed the ‘Kranmärkt’ (tap water) label already back in 2015. This is an eco-tap indication that businesses and municipalities can feature on their premises to show that they serve tap water, rather than bottled. It is not meant as a certification but rather as a sustainability label – a badge that shows a stance in support of the environment.

The Swedish Water and Wastewater Association appreciated the initiative so much that it took over the label and is now distributing it nationally. The initiative’s website features an updated list of all businesses and organizations that have chosen to switch to the label in Sweden.

It remains to be seen if it will cause a major and permanent shift towards the idea that water does not need to be packaged in order to be made attractive.

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