French fountain spurts sparkling water

A woman watches carbonated water flowed into a cup from a soda water fountain called "La Petillante" during its opening ceremony at the Jardin de Reuilly in Paris 12th district on.

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BILL RADKE: A new Parisian drinking fountain opened this week
dispensing both still and fizzy water. The water is drawn from the public supply, then chilled -- and injected with bubbles. Part of an effort to persuade the French to buy less bottled water.

The BBC's Christian Fraser reports.


CHRISTIAN FRASER: La Petillante -- it translates as "she who sparkles." And it is the first public water fountain in France to inject carbon dioxide into tap water. The average Frenchman drinks 28 gallons of still or sparkling water every year. The vast majority is sold in plastic or glass bottles, which are then thrown away.

Anne Le Strat is from the public water company Eau de Paris. She says the idea behind the fountain is to finally wean the French off the bottle.

ANNE LE STRAT: It's the first in Paris but also in France. Eau de Paris is offering a public service by making this available to Parisians. It's an innovation that means Parisians who like sparkling water can drink tap water, but fizzy tap water.

The French are the eighth biggest consumers of bottled water in the world, last year producing more than 262,000 tons of plastic waste. Eau de Paris say their public supply of water is safe and environmentally friendly. And the best bit of all -- it's free! Even with the fizz.

In Paris, I'm the BBC's Christian Fraser for Marketplace.

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