Bottled water takes a dive

There's speculation that this could be the beginning of the end for bottled water, with less people drinking it and more people aware of the industry's environmental impact.

Figures provided to Fairfax by Roy Morgan Research show that in the 12 months to September last year 30 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds said they drank bottled water, compared with 36 per cent in 2007. In the 14 to 25 age group, 33 per cent drank bottled water compared with 35 per cent in 2007.

According to SMH, the Australasian Bottled Water Institute believes volume growth will be between seven and eight percent, but admits there has been a slide in the number of young people buying bottled water.

The institute's chief executive, Geoff Parker, says the anti-bottled water campaign as well as the rise of alternative drinks like ice tea have contributed to the sales slide.

The main arguments of those promoting tap water over bottled water are that companies are making huge profits from a prescious natural resource, bottled water has no dietary benefits over tap water and the industry produces large amounts of waste.

According to Clean Up Australia chief, Ian Kiernan, more than 12 percent of all rubbish collected on Clean Up Australia Day last year was soft drink and water bottles.

"These bottles last 450 years or more," he said. "They break up into smaller pieces … It gets ingested into the food chain, which then gets ingested by us all, with toxic effect. It's sinister."