CamelBak Australia is donating 2,000 of its Better Bottles to Bundanoon, a tiny tourist town 90 miles southwest of Sydney, Australia, that voted in July to ban the sale of bottled water. The difference with the CamelBak bottles, of course, is that they won’t be pitched into the rubbish at the end of the day. Rather, they’ll be refilled again and again by some of the 2,500 residents at indoor taps, drinking fountains, and three spanking new filtered-water filling stations around town.
The movement against the sale of “single-use” bottled water began when a Sydney-based beverage company, Norlex, proposed pumping water from a local aquifer to bottle for sale. The prospect of buying back their own water—marked up as much as 250 times—in the midst of a seven-year drought struck some Bundanoon townspeople as ridiculous. In July, a meeting was called and more than 350 citizens voted to take it a step farther and outlaw the sale of bottled water.
Bundanoon, which the local aborigines called the “place of deep gullies,” is something of an adventure haven. It’s only a 15-minute walk from the sandstone cliffs and gorges of the 4,000-acre Morton National Park, which is a popular bushwalking and rock-climbing destination. Additionally, local company Wild Horizons has turned Bundanoon’s Ye Olde Bicycle Shoppe into a mountain biking hub for all of New South Wales. In early November, Wild Horizons hosts the Highland Fling, a completely carbon neutral 70-mile mountain bike race that attracts over 1,500 entrants annually.
Last Saturday, September 26, Bundanoon celebrated its newfound status as Australia’s only bottle-free town with food, music and, it goes without saying, plenty of water. The new filtered water taps were christened, and CamelBak handed out its colorful, reusable, BPA-free bottles. I’ll raise a glass (of tap water, naturally) to that!