Is bottled water worth the cost?

At the last P & F meeting, the fact that our canteen does not sell bottled water was raised as a concern.

I have included research by Choice Australia in this newsletter in the hope that it will explain why the College has taken the stance of banning bottled water and has opted for water chiller machines in the playground.

Bottled water costs almost 2000 times more than tap water. But are there any benefits? A litre of tap water costs only a fraction of a cent, but you can pay several dollars for a litre of bottled water – and the costs over time can add up considerably. If you drink two litres a day 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 more than $2800 a year.

A large proportion of this cost comes from producing the plastic bottle, lid and label. So is the actual water any better?

The bottled water business

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 (600,000,000 litres) of water, 60% of which is sold in single-serve bottles. About one in five Australian 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 3% 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

All Australians have access to safe drinking water, and for most of us it’s readily available via the tap. For 93% of households, drinking water comes from mains or town water.


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.


Despite the ABWI listing hydration for “health-conscious living” as a key reason for choosing bottled water, Australian tap water will hydrate you just as effectively as bottled water.


The Australian Dental Association recommends tap water as the primary choice of drink for everyone. The chair of its Oral Health Committee, Peter Alldritt, says “it’s the most hydrating beverage there is, free of sugar and acid, and [where] it contains fluoride, [it] reduces the risk of tooth decay”.

“People who prefer bottled water are turning their backs on the benefits of water fluoridation,” he says. “They risk putting their dental health back to the 1960s, when tooth decay was widespread because there was no fluoride in the water.”

The World Health Organization also holds the view that dental cavities can be prevented by maintaining a constant low level of fluoride in the mouth.



Where fluoride is added to tap water in Australia, regulations mandate 0.6 – 1.1mg per litre. Although the Australia Food Standards Code permits bottlers to add the same amount to their bottled water, the ABWI do not include it in bottled water because  some people will choose bottled water over tap as a means of avoiding chemicals such as fluoride.


Although the ABWI boasts that all plastic bottles are made from recyclable material, the truth is less than half of these PET plastic bottles are actually recycled, with the remaining 60% going straight to landfill.

US-based policy research organisation, The Pacific Institute, estimates twice as much water is used in producing the plastic bottle as there is in the bottle itself. This means every litre consumed actually represents three litres of water.

Clean Up Australia says that plastic bottles are among the 10 most common rubbish items picked up on Clean Up Australia Day, and actively encourages people to avoid bottled water and buy a reusable bottle.



Banning the bottle

Refill schemes are starting to take off around the country, with local councils paying closer attention to providing and maintaining public water fountains and taps.

Some towns and organisations have taken it upon themselves to go a step further, banning bottled water completely. Bans are now also in place in the NSW town of Bundanoon and at Monte Sant’ Angelo Mercy College and Bethany College in Sydney, the University of Canberra and the Southbank campus of the Victorian College of the Arts.







Yarra Valley Water is enjoying great success with its Choose Tap app, as is Sydney Water with its café water program Tap, launched to help reverse the trend of paying too much for drinking water. Do Something!’s Go Tap campaign backs Manly Council’s water fountain project in Sydney and urges people to avoid buying single bottles of water.









CHOICE verdict

More expensive than milk, soft drink and even petrol, there’s no doubt bottled water has pitched itself as a premium product. In fact, you can buy more than 1000L of Sydney tap water for the same cost as a 600ml bottle of Mount Franklin water. But does bottled water trump tap in terms of quality? Probably not.

(Adapted from



Some useful apps that promote good mental health and wellbeing



This helps youth reduce anxiety and stress. It helps change how you think about stressful thoughts. Rather than avoiding anxiety, the app encourages you to make an important shift and face it. It has specific tools to help you tackle test anxiety, perfectionism, social anxiety, performance anxiety, panic, conflict and worry. Free to download on Apple (iOS).






ReachOut Breathe

Breathe manages anxiety using controlled breathing exercises. Using simple visuals , the app helps young people reduce the physical symptoms of stress and anxiety by slowing down their heart rate to increase the feelings of calmness in the body.




Interested in studying at an overseas university?

Students, parents and careers advisors can find out more at an information session organised by the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards NSW (BOSTES NSW) on Wednesday 19 August.

The session starts with an overview of the application processes for the US, Canada and UK, followed by workshops on:

  • Writing Effective Personal Statements for selective UK universities by representatives of Oxford and Warwick universities
  • For university in Canada and the USA advice on applying by representatives of EducationUSA and Study Canada.

Representatives from the following universities and organisations will be available to provide specific advice about their entry requirements and courses, and suport:

  • University of Warwick
  • University of St Andrews
  • University of the Arts London
  • Savannah College of Art & Design
  • New York University
  • Bard College
  • Swiss Education Group
  • Athletes Agency – information on athletics scholarships

The session is from 4.30 – 7.30pm in the Alexander Hall at Kambala School, 794 New South Head Rd, Rose Bay, in Sydney.

Book through TryBooking:

For more information, contact:
Michael Charlton at BOSTES NSW, Director, Media
(02) 9367 8248


HSC Trials and Major Works

Our Year 12 students now find themselves into the second week of their Trial Examinations and will return to class in Week 5.  Our staff has been generous in giving of their time in class, after school and during the last vacation break, to assist the girls who wanted extra help and feedback. There have been hundreds of practice essays going back and forth at all hours of the day and evening and even over the weekends! I thank the Year 12 teachers for going the “extra mile” with our students.

Next week Year 12 students return to class for their final six weeks of school with the aim to prepare them for their forthcoming HSC examinations to the best of their individual ability. It has been a personal highlight through the course of this year to see production and finalisation of our major works and performances in Dance, Drama, Music, Society and Culture, Textiles and Design, Design and Technology and Visual Arts.  Our Art and Design showcase of our major works is on next Wednesday 12 August from 5pm. All are welcome to attend and I particularly urge girls in Years 9, 10 and 11 studying in these areas to come and view the works. It will give you great inspiration for the task of planning your own major works! I am especially looking forward to seeing what our Year 7 to 10 students have been making in their Art and Design classes.

We all wish Year 12 well as the move into the “tapering phase” of their studies in preparation for the HSC in October.


Preliminary (Year 11) HSC Examinations 3 September – 14 September

The students in Year 11 are rapidly nearing the conclusion of their Preliminary HSC courses and preparing for their Preliminary Examinations. The start of Term 4 sees Year 11 quickly become Year 12 (2016) and the commencement of their HSC year and HSC Assessment Program. As for our Year 12 (2015) class, we wish these students well in their preparations and trust that they dedicate themselves wholly and consistently to the task engaging in their classwork and with their teachers to achieve their best.


FDad dayather’s Day Mass and Breakfast

Our fathers and father-figures are warmly invited to our Father’s Day Mass and Breakfast on Thursday 3 September 2015. Mass will be in St Michael’s Church followed by breakfast in Yallunga at 7.30am. This year, our Hospitality students have volunteered to cater for the breakfast so we look forward to spoiling our dad’s even more. For catering purposes, please RSVP by 28 August via the following link .







Our mantra:

“Girls can do anything.
Bethany girls can do everything!*
(*except divide by zero)”
Vicki Lavorato