An independent nationwide survey* conducted on behalf of SodaStream has revealed 64% of New Zealanders feel guilty about the single use plastic bottles they buy and the effect these bottles are having on the environment.
More than a third of New Zealanders drink bottled water and one in five buy bottled water at least weekly. However, 72% think there should be regulations or laws for single-use plastic bottle purchase in order to reduce plastic pollution, such as higher costs, taxes or making them less accessible. Surprisingly, 87% would be willing to give up buying plastic bottles altogether to protect our oceans.
Mark Stephenson from SodaStream said it’s positive that such a big portion of the population supports steps being taken to reduce single use plastic waste.
“If 20% of Kiwis aged 15 and over are buying bottled water at least weekly as the survey shows, that adds up to more than 39 million plastic bottles per year being purchased, just for drinking water, in New Zealand alone. Imagine how many it would be if you included soda and juice bottles in that tally too!” said Stephenson.
“This just goes to show what a difference we could make if we took steps to reduce this wastage. Interestingly, the survey showed that if bottled water became less socially acceptable - like what is happening with smoking - that would deter around ¾ of people from buying it, especially within the younger generation. Perhaps this is the route that we need to be going down.”
Stephenson said the results show that while many New Zealanders are still choosing to buy single use plastic bottles, there is an appetite for change and a willingness to make choices that will serve the environment.
“There’s a perception that recycling is a good choice and while it is better than nothing, it’s much more powerful to avoid buying single use plastic in the first place."
“However this survey has revealed just how many Kiwis would be willing to completely give up buying plastic bottles in order to protect our oceans and end the age of throwaway plastic. With around five trillion pieces of plastic currently floating in our oceans and harming marine life, this is a great result and it would be awesome to see our clean green nation move in this direction.”
With the survey showing 80% of New Zealanders believe they should be drinking more water every day, part of the issue could be a desire for increased hydration in a convenient way.
Well-known Kiwi nutritionist, Claire Turnbull of Mission Nutrition, says many people working to improve their health aim to increase their water intake, but they don’t need to buy bottled water to do so.
“We are so lucky here in New Zealand to have access to clean, pure and readily available water, so it is surprising to hear the number of people still buying bottled water – there is just no need to,” said Turnbull.
“It only takes small steps to alleviate the guilt of not drinking enough water, and this doesn’t to be done in a way that’s environmentally harmful,” she continues.
“One in four Kiwis drink more water during their day when it is sparkling, and with appliances like SodaStream which utilise reusable bottles, you can prevent the purchase of single use plastic too. It’s a win-win on a health and environmental front.”
The survey data revealed that flavouring water, having it on ice or sparkling it with a SodaStream machine were the top three reasons people gave for how they encourage themselves to drink more water during the day.