Venice, Italy known for the water that surrounds and runs through the city is turning to the tap for its drinking water. Tired of trash cans and canals filled with empty water bottles the city government is encouraging residents and tourists alike to start drinking tap water.
Trash in Venice has to be collected on foot which is labor intensive and expensive. Men with wheelbarrows cruise the alleys and canals collecting trash. Collection costs over $300 per ton compared with just under $100 per ton on the mainland according to Ricardo Seccarello, a city official. And the trash collectors only collect trash from bins, not the trash including a large number of plastic bottles that ends up in the canals each day.
Italians drink more bottled water than consumers anywhere else in the world drinking more than 40 gallons per person per year. Go to any restaurant or home in Italy and you will be offered bottled water “con gaz” or “senza gaz” meaning sparkling or natural. Rarely are you offered tap water and never are you offered ice.
Venice has now started marketing their own tap water under the brand name “Acqua Veritas”. The water in most cities in Italy is safe to drink. The water that runs from taps in Venice comes from the same region as San Benedetto”, one of Italy’s most popular brands of bottled water.
City officials are claiming at least partial success saying the amount of plastic trash collected has been reduced from 288 tons per month to 261 tons per month one year ago.
Convincing local residents to drink tap water is easier than converting the hordes of tourists that invade Venice each year. City officials are trying to convince tourists to try drinking from the public spouts that are scattered around the city. That is going to be a hard sell given the prominence of stores and restaurants selling water and the hesitancy of most tourists to risk drinking water from a public spout. The city may have more success if they try to implement a “refill and reuse” campaign as in buy one bottle then refill it at your hotel for reuse.