Venice Makes Tap Water Hot Commodity, Reduces Waste

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Venice, the Italian city best known for it’s meandering canals and majestic architecture, has developed a bit of a trash problem. Because most of its streets are waterways, garbage must be picked up on foot and is far more costly than on the mainland. To make matters more difficult, bottled water has become extremely popular with Italians. In fact, Italy has become the leading consumer per capita of bottled water in the world. All that plastic puts a strain on the city budget and sometimes leads to bottles floating in the canals.

Venice, being an elegant city, has come up with an elegant solution. They have taken their aquifer sourced tap water and marketed their own brand of water called Acqua Veritas. This water is exclusively available from the tap in homes and fountains across the city. The campaign began with all households in the city receiving free carafes displaying the Acqua Veritas logo. This was followed by billboard advertisements, humorously featuring local politicians. Acqua Veritas is actually sourced from the same aquifer as San Benedetto, one of the nations most popular water brands. Many residents have caught on to the delicious taste and hip image of this tap water and now prefer it over it’s bottled competitors.

Venice has also extended their program to visitors. On World Environment Day, last year, empty water bottles were handed out to tourists entering the city. The bottles had a sticker on them that read, “don’t throw me away – reuse me” and came with a map of 122 water fountains around the city.

Overall, Venice’s program has been considered a success. In just one year, the city has reduced it’s plastic waste by 27 tons. Does this mean we need to start thinking of a fancy brand name for New York City tap water? Catskill Cascade? Acqua Nuova York? Any ideas?

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