In an effort to try and reduce plastic waste, the Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources and the Environment Agency of Iceland are launching a new project to try and reduce plastic waste in Iceland.
According to an announcement from Icelandic government offices, the project, called “Turn The Tap On”, will educate tourists coming to Iceland that it is unnecessary to buy bottled water in this country.
This fact is something we at Grapevine have also tried to reiterate numerous times. Iceland actually ranks first in the world in Water and Sanitation on the Environmental Performance Index. This is also very much the case in Reykjavík, where the bottled water you buy from stores contains the exact same water that comes from the tap.
Bottled water in Iceland can also be wildly overpriced, at times costing more per litre than even petrol.
A common refrain from tourists when this is pointed out is that they are only buying the water for the bottle itself. In that case, we would recommend buying a canteen or similar re-usable water bottle from any one of the outdoor goods stores you can find in Reykjavík, such as at Fjallakofinn on Laugavegur or Útilíf at the Kringlan mall. Reduces plastic waste, and gives you a fine souvenir from Iceland to bring home.
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Iceland ranked second on the Environmental Performance Index. This was based on older data. According to newer data, Iceland is ranked 11th overall, but first in the area of Water and Sanitation.