Shellharbour City Council leading the way and reducing their ‘ecological footprint’

Case Study

November 21, 2013

Supporting sustainable living by reducing plastic waste

Challenge: Finding innovative ways to achieve the communities strategic plan 2013-23 objective relating to practicing sustainable living.

– Installing a permanent water refill station and drinking fountain at Reddall Reserve on the Lake Illawarra foreshore
– Providing portable water refill stations at Council’s major events in key public places.

Result: Taking a step closer to being a leader in Environmental Sustainability by supporting and encouraging the community to practice sustainable living by reducing plastic waste from disposable drink bottles.

Shellharbour City Council is committed to being a leader in environmental sustainability.

In 2013 Council decided to purchase a number of aquafil™ portable water bottle refill stations to use at major community events. The aim of the refill stations was to support the local community in practicing sustainable living, reduce waste to landfill and reduce stormwater pollution.

In 2012 Council took advantage of a funding opportunity from Keep Australia Beautiful through its Beverage Container Recycling Community Grants, to install a permanent aquafil™ water refill station and drinking fountain at a popular picnic area at Reddall Reserve, on the foreshore of Lake Illawarra.

Both initiatives encourage the consumption of tap water, which has a much smaller ecological footprint than bottled water. These initiatives also encourage people to bring their own drink bottles and embrace the ‘refuse, reuse’ philosophy rather than the ‘throw away’ mentality. By filling up reusable water bottles, Council and the community are reducing the amount of plastic waste that ultimately ends up in landfill, water ways and oceans.

The aquafil™ units come with a range of optional features and water meters were installed on both permanent and portable refill stations to calculate the ongoing environmental benefits associated with drinking tap water instead of bottled beverages.

In addition to the display panels which allow for advertising on the refill station itself, Council has also purchased flags which read ‘Water Refill’ to draw attention to the units at events.

“We have only recently started using our aquafil refill stations and already it’s great to see the environmental benefits accumulating as each bottle refilled at the station is potentially one less disposable beverage bottle that will be consumed.

“We’ve also found children have really enjoyed the novelty of refilling their water bottles from the special refill station,” says Alison Mellor, Environment Officer Shellharbour City Council.

Council has also adopted the Illawarra Regional Food Strategy which describes how Illawarra Councils can work together towards a vision for a vibrant, sustainable local food system that is resilient, prosperous, fair and secure. Making fresh drinking water available in public spaces is one of the actions identified in this strategy and the provision of water refill stations helps achieve this action.

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Banning plastic bottles and sugary drinks in Schools

Promoting a healthy environment and lifestyle

More and more schools around the country are banning the sale of single use plastic water bottles and sugary drinks in the school canteen.

With recent research showing that consuming sugar sweetened drinks is considered a major risk factor for tooth decay, diabetes and obesity, health organisations in Australia have launched the Rethink Sugary Drink campaign. The campaign is calling for a government tax on sugary drinks and has asked schools to limit their sale and availability. According to the Cancer Council Australia, a regular 600ml soft drink contains roughly 16 packs of sugar.

Giving up sugary drinks and replacing them with water is the healthy option, but don’t do it by selling water in single use plastic bottles. These bottles have an enormous impact on our environment. From production to shipping, storage, refrigeration and ultimately disposal, single use plastic bottles cause unnecessary ecological damage. They end up in landfil creating toxic waste or in our oceans where they create disgusting islands of waste that end up killing our marine and bird life.

Schools around the country are becoming proactive in creating a healthy environment and lifestyle.  To find out more on the environmental impact of plastic waste and how you can make a difference read Climate Girls story on how she campaigned to have plastic bottles banned at her school. Read Climate Girls story



aquafil™ Drinking Fountains for Lake Wendouree

The first lake Wendouree aquafil Drinking Fountain has been opened at St Patrick’s Point.

Central Highlands Water’s Chair Mr Jeremy Johnson and City of Ballarat Mayor Cr John Burt OAM officially opened the first of eight new drinking fountains on Friday at St Patrick’s Point as part of the Lake Wendouree Drinking Fountains project.
Four new aquafil drinking water fountains featuring bottle refill dispensers, dog drinking bowls and wheelchair accessible bubblers and four replacement Furphy drinking fountains will be installed at various intervals along the Steve Moneghetti track.
The drinking water fountains project is the result of a community partnership between Central Highlands Water and the City of Ballarat to enhance Lake Wendouree.
Mr Jeremy Johnson, Chair, Central Highlands Water says the commencement of this project signifies a strong partnership with an excellent result for the community.
“The Lake is used by many people from runners, walkers, families and rowers and it is with great pleasure that we are going to provide fresh drinking water to these and many other Lake users,” Mr Johnson said.
Mayor Cr John Burt OAM says the new drinking stations are sure to be welcomed by the community, especially during the summer months.

Read the full story at The MineR

Deakin University making its mark in water conservation

Case Study

August 29, 2013

Working towards its ‘Green Star’ goal

Challenge: Environmentally sustainable initiatives to help reach goal of becoming a ‘Green Star – Education v1’ enterprise.

Solution: Water refill stations and drinking fountains across three Deakin campuses.

Result: A sustainable initiative in the effort to achieve best practice water conservation.

Working towards its goal of being a ’Green Star – Education v1’ enterprise that integrates environmental sustainability principles into all of its operations, policies and activities, Deakin University has installed aquafil™ water refill stations and drinking fountains in key locations across three campuses.

This is one of several environmentally sustainable initiatives implemented by Deakin in an effort to achieve best practice water conservation, stormwater management and waste management practices, following detailed water audits that were undertaken at each campus.

Detailed research around accessibility was carried out to determine which water units would be best suited to the University’s needs.

aquafil™ offers a wide range of water refill stations and drinking fountains to choose from. As well as being wheelchair accessible, the units have a range of optional features, such as water meters to track usage, filtered or non-filtered options, dog bowls and display panels for advertising.

‘The units met accessibility requirements from an OHS perspective and the choice of optional extras made aquafil™ the perfect choice,’ says Amanda Neilson, Deakin University’s Senior Sustainability Officer.

Thirteen aquafil™ water refill stations and drinking fountains have been installed across three Deakin campuses – Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus, Melbourne Burwood Campus and Warrnambool Campus.

The initiative, coupled with the ’Be Smart Choose Tap‘ awareness campaign, has helped encourage staff and students to refill their own drink bottles instead of purchasing water in plastic bottles, aligning with the University’s objective to reduce waste to landfill.

Melbourne is reputed for having some of the best drinking water in the world, but each year Australians still spend more than $500 million on purchasing bottled water. This means Australians are paying 700 times more per 500ml of bottled water than they would for tap water.

Not only are millions of dollars wasted annually on bottled water, the plastic waste that ends up in landfill, waterways and oceans has a severe impact on our environment. Plastic bottles, which take an average estimated time of 450 years to break down, kill our bird and marine life when they mistake them for food.

The installation of aquafil™ water refill stations and drinking fountains addresses a key feature in Deakin’s Strategic Plan LIVE the future: Agenda 2020, which provides the opportunity to extend the definition and practice of ‘sustainability’ to include economic, social and environmental concepts.

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University Students say No to plastic bottles

9 August, 2013

UWA University News

Students have saved up to 15,833 plastic water bottles from going to landfill this semester.

But they haven’t been going thirsty.

In February the Sustainable Development Office installed a filtered water refill station in the Guild courtyard. The refill station is the first of several that Recycling and Waste Management Coordinator, Alain Twynham, aims to have installed across campus to help decrease the number of plastic bottles that make their way into landfill.

Alain said 9,500 litres of water had been used from the refill station. “That’s equivalent to 15,833 600ml bottles,” he said.

The free refill station promotes a healthier lifestyle for students and staff. It is connected to the mains water supply, and filters out chlorine and other chemicals.

There has been immense support and positive feedback, especially from students.

“The water station is very popular and will hopefully permanently reduce the number of plastic bottles from UWA that end up in landfill,” said Trish Howard from Sustainability Projects.

The Student Guild was supportive of the refill station’s installation in the village and its associated environmental and health benefits.

Say NO to plastic bottles!

Read the full story at UWA University News

Photo courtesy of UWA

aquafil™ Water Refill Stations and Drinking Fountains

Water is essential for healthy living and is crucial for sporting, mental and academic performances. Tap water represents value for money as it’s cheaper for the community than buying bottled water or other soft drinks.

The aquafil range of Water Bottle Refill Stations and Drinking Fountains serve as a dynamic educational tool in the fight to reduce plastic waste and conserve precious resources. Full colour graphics are available on most of the aquafil range and are a valuable educational tool in helping promote a sustainable way of living and encouraging a healthy lifestyle.

The Cost of Bottled Water – 2000 times more than tap

June 12, 2013

Choice – The Peoples Watchdog

by Elise Dalley

Australian consumers pay almost 2000 times more than the cost of tap water to drink from a bottle.

While a litre of tap water in Sydney costs only a fraction of a cent, you can pay upwards of $3.88 a litre for bottled water, with a large proportion of this cost coming from producing the plastic bottle, lid and label. And the costs over time can add up considerably.

If you hydrate yourself with two litres a day straight from the tap, you’ll pay about $1.50 a year. Drink the same amount from single-serve bottles, however, and you could be looking at $2800 or more a year.

Yet all Australians have access to safe drinking water, and for most of us it’s readily available via the tap. Water trends from the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ 2006 environment survey show 93% of Australian households were connected to mains/town water in March 2004. Almost all households (98%) in capital cities were connected, compared with 86% of households outside the capitals.

Tap vs bottle

Industry group the Australasian Bottled Water Institute (ABWI) estimates the industry is worth about $500 million a year. This equates to the sale of roughly 600 megalitres of water, 60% of which is sold in single-serve bottles. On a national level, about one in five households bought bottled water in 2004, compared with 16% in 2001. In fact, almost one in 10 households says it’s their main source of drinking water.

In the 10 years to 2004, the proportion of households buying bottled water increased from three per cent to 21%. Market researchers Canadean say world consumption of bottled water has doubled in the past decade, and predict bottled water will overtake carbonated drinks as the leading drink category by 2015.

On tap

Mains tap water in Australian cities is supplied by utilities, while in rural and regional areas it’s the responsibility of local council. Individual state health departments are responsible for regulating water quality monitoring. The water from your tap starts its journey from catchment zones, dams, rivers and even the ocean before flowing through filtration plants designed to remove contaminants and bring water in line with the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. Set by the National Health and Medical Research Council, these guidelines define safe, good-quality water and how it is achieved and assured.

The poor taste of their mains water can lead some people to choose bottled water but, aside from the cost, there are also health and environmental arguments for tap water.

If the quality of tap water is a problem where you live – see State-by-state water quality – there are a number of water filters on the market that can help you save money in the long term. These are available with different filter cartridges that help remove impurities, which may help with taste.
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The aquafil Story – How the Water Bottle Refill Station and Bubbler became one

In 2008 Manly Council installed 6 filtered Water Bubblers costing the Council a whopping $55,800 to purchase and install ($9,300 per unit).  Each of these units consisted of a separate bottle filler and bubbler. In an effort to reduce the costs, Manly Council looked for options and together with Arrow Alpha came up with a design that incorporated the filler and bubbler into one unit resulting in the first aquafil water bottle refill station and bubbler. By the end of 2010, 12 aquafil units had been installed in Manly and since then the aquafil product range has grown and now boasts a comprehensive range of refill stations and bubblers.

With the ability to display graphics, the aquafil units serve as dynamic educational tools in promoting a sustainable way of living and encouraging a healthy lifestyle with the Manly units displaying the message “Combat Climate Change. Avoid Waste & Pollution. Reuse Resources. Reduce Carbon Emisions.”

Reducing the amount of plastic bottled water used in the community goes a long way in the fight to reduce plastic waste and save our precious resources, and lets not forget the savings associated with not having to purchase bottled water!

All the units are vandal resistant, easy to keep clean and wheelchair accessible ensuring everyone is able to fill up or have a drink.

Manly Council was the first council in Australia to provide free filtered water to the public and to read about the Manly initiative click here…

Public drinking facility takes on a creative, decorative edge

A progressive  public drinking water refill package from Australian company Arrow Alpha has been chosen by Sydney’s Leichhardt Council as part of its initiative to refurbish an important retail/cafe strip of this esteemed inner city sector of Sydney.

Council’s 2009/10 Main Street Improvement programme under current Mayor, Mr Jamie Parker, sees Arrow Alpha providing its‘ aquafil’ water refill station.

While Arrow Alpha is fast gaining recognition as a strong force in encouraging community water refill stations, this specific aquafil unit also shows how versatile the system can be as an aesthetic showpiece to display and reinforce the cultural history of an area.

Located on the corner of Marion and Edith Streets, this aquafil refill station has a striking facade featuring an intricate mosaic.

It acts not only as a stylised site-marker but also a showpiece community item to visually link its locale to the Italian culture that put Leichhardt firmly on the international tourist map; much like the suburb of Carlton achieves in Melbourne.

Arrow Alpha says this aspect of its refill stations is taking on a new level of importance because councils, school bodies as well as private companies and business parks can utilise aquafil’s panels for branding, marketing and decorative purposes.

Arrow Alpha is also a supplier of Australian-Standard-approved bike racks that meet modern day demand of Australian residents demand for carbon footprint reduction.

With a firm push by councillors in many areas of Sydney – particularly in central zones – to increase and integrate bicycle tracks for cleaner travel and better general health of the population, the concept of the water refill station is gaining momentum as a solution to not just provide convenient stops for drinking water but to also reduce the level of empty bottles being discarded into waste streams and on the streets.

Arrow Alpha’s water refill station in Leichhardt has been installed as part of a greater works project that includes bike racks, decorative lighting, more spacious and updated paving and tree preservation orders.

Another aquafil water refill station is being introduced in the nearby Annandale Shopping village.

Able to be tailored for the end user, aquafil is a sustainable amenity that alleviates poor hygiene problems that plagued traditional water fountains in decades past.
It has capacity for promotional space (ideal for councils and public works) and eliminates general waste issues by encouraging people to refill bottles through multiple purpose-specific refill nozzles, rather than buying throw-away bottled water.

aquafil water fountain’s bottle refill points have anti-bacterial nozzles. Wheelchair accessibility is a standard, signage facilities prominent; they have optional sub–floor drainage, and the choice of filtered water configuration if desired.

Bottle refill points are nominally positioned on the sides of these units – made of silver impregnated plastic and stainless steel to eliminate any threat of bacteria. Germ potential was one of the main reasons that traditional drinking fountains disappeared from the public landscape.

aquafil units also combat another primary reason why drinking fountains have had a long absence from parks and streets – vandalism. Anti-vandal nozzles and buttons are a feature of the product line.

Because the units comprise highly visual modular panels, it ensures space for colourful branding or promotional activity and this is well received by councils, transport authorities, shopping centre management and general businesses which can utilise this aspect of design to publicise messages on a 24/7 basis.

Arrow Alpha Industries has designed the aquafil drinking fountain and water refill unit to be maintained very easily by using off-the-shelf components.

Sugary drinks to be phased out in ACT Schools

February 21, 2013

aquafil water refill stations are now been installed in public schools across ACT.

Hawker College, Alfred Deakin High School, Campbell High School, Namadgi School and Ngunnawal Primary School students will all receive re-useable water bottles in an effort to encourage them to use the aquafil water refill stations to fill up in a joint initiative by the ACT Education and Training and Health Directorates.

ACT Government Press Release …

August 27, 2012
ACT News

Soft drinks, fruit juice and flavoured milk will be phased out of ACT primary  schools within five years if they ACT Government is re-elected in October.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher has announced a $500,000 fund to install water  bottle refill stations and supply reusable bottles to government and  non-government primary schools, high schools and colleges.

Schools that apply for one of the machines will have to agree to phase out  the sale of sugary drinks from canteens and vending machines.

Ms Gallagher said the aim was to tackle rising obesity rates among children  by phasing out the sale of all sugary drinks in Canberra primary schools by  2017.

“We already know that in the last four years we’ve seen increases in  childhood obesity rates and in children who are overweight,” she said.

“One of the causes of that, without any doubt, is access to sugary drinks and  consumption of sugary drinks.

“We need to make water the drink of choice again for children.”

Read more from Canberra Times…

aquafil Water Refill Stations and Drinking Fountains

Water is essential for healthy living and is crucial for sporting, mental and academic performances. Tap water represents value for money as it’s cheaper for the community than buying bottled water or other soft drinks.

The aquafil range of Water Bottle Refill Stations and Drinking Fountains serve as a dynamic educational tool in the fight to reduce plastic waste and conserve precious resources. Full colour graphics are available on most of the aquafil range and are a valuable educational tool in helping promote a sustainable way of living and encouraging a healthy lifestyle.

Yarra Valley Water installs aquafil water Refill Stations

Yarra Valley Water is working with local councils and organisations to install aquafil water refill stations in community recreation areas.

In an effort to increase health and environmental awareness within the community about the benefits of tap water, Yarra Valley Water has launched the “Choose Tap” campaign.  Hawthorn Football Club star Sam Mitchell unveilled the aquafil water refill station at Lillydale Lake.

The “Choose Tap” campaign promotes the health benefits of drinking tap water as a positvie alternative to bottled water.  With Australians spending more than $500 million annually on plastic bottled water the benefits of changing to tap water are huge. Not only is it good for the environment, it also saves us money.

The aquafil™ range of Water Bottle Refill Stations and Drinking Fountains  serve as a dynamic  educational tool in the fight to reduce plastic waste and conserve precious resources. Full colour graphics are available on most of the aquafil™ range and are  valuable in helping promote a sustainable way of living and encouraging a healthy lifestyle.

Read more from Yarra Valley Water…


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