Australia has the most expensive bottled water in the world, according to a new United Nations report.
It also found that Australians are the second-largest global consumers of bottled water.
The average Australian spent $575 on bottled water in 2021. Only Singapore surpassed this, with the average person spending $2,000 a year on bottled water in 2021.
The report found Australia had the most expensive average price for a bottle of water – $AU5.30. That is over a third higher than the average price in European and North American countries.
The report says large levels of bottled water consumption in high-income countries was usually due to perceived health and taste benefits that were often marketed to consumers.
The report says about 85% of all plastic water bottles become waste.
It identified alternative measures, such as biodegradable bioplastic materials, to use as a substitute for plastic packaging. However, it also suggested that the use of bottled water didn’t align with providing universal access to drinking water.
The report challenged perceptions that bottled water is healthier than tap water. It said global, coordinated efforts with the bottled water sector are needed to promote reliable supply, especially in low-income areas.