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The tennis superstar confronting Australia’s dirtiest habit—our obsession with bottled water

Despite us having some of the safest and most high-quality tap water freely available, a recent UN report unveiled a shocking truth. Australia is one of the worst offenders in the world for bottled water.

Not only do we have the word’s second highest consumption rate of bottled water per capita behind Singapore, but on average, Aussies each spent about $580 buying 504 litres of bottled water in 2021. This demand has now resulted in Australia having the most expensive bottled water on the planet.

According to Sustainability Victoria, across the nation we buy almost 15 billion plastic bottles every year with many of them ending up in landfill or in our waterways. It seems the convenience of buying water on the go is seen to be an easier option for many rather than carrying around a reusable bottle. 

Australia’s poor track record for single-use plastic refuse, alongside other top offenders around the globe, has led to environmentally conscious companies now prioritising plastic waste minimisation as a key feature of their company mission.

One such company is waterdrop—a Vienna-based DrinkTech scale-up backed by tennis star Novak Djokovic. The World Number 1 made a seven-figure investment into the venture and is also the brand’s ambassador.

Having just launched in Australia, waterdrop’s microcubes, infused with vitamins and natural flavours, can be used to enhance water. The hope for consumers is to keep refilling a usable water vessel with clean tap water and use the five different cubes to alternate the flavours.

Currently selling in 10 European countries including the UK, Germany and France, in February it was announced that waterdropÂź, which has been in the beverage market since 2016, had become the Official Hydration Partner and Gold Partner of the ATP Tour.

The partnership will see the ATP and waterdropÂź promote sustainable hydration on the tour. The brand will provide its signature reusable bottles to players, staff and volunteers paving the way for significant reduction in plastic bottle usage across the season.

The company will also introduce innovative on-court hydration benches for players and hydration stations for fans at tour events in different countries. Alongside Djokovic, high-profile US players Taylor Fritz and Danielle Collins will also advance the brand’s message.

Another initiative that waterdropŸ has partnered with is Canadian social enterprise Plastic Bank. Initially volunteers are tasked to collect thousands of plastic bottles from coastlines, rivers and forests.  These bottles can be handed in at various locations and exchanged for digital prepaid cards.

The cards can in turn be redeemed for food, school fees, health insurance, access to medical care, internet, electricity and more. In essence, the waste becomes an uncomplicated ‘barter currency’ enabling economically disadvantaged people to live a better life. Since the end of 2020, waterdrop¼ has paid for one collected plastic bottle per 12-pack of microcubes sold.

Lastly, waterdropŸ supports the reduction of CO2 emissions. Almost half of all bottles produced are used for shipping bottled water, creating over 8 million tons of CO2 annually. Given that waterdropŸ is only producing the essence of each drink, it cuts up to 98 percent of CO2 emissions compared to bottled beverages.

Considering nearly 500 billion plastic bottles are produced globally each year, it’s clear that sustainability is becoming less of a privilege and more of a necessary requirement.

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