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Town Bans Bottled Water

Concord, Mass. has made illegal the sale of single-serving plastic water bottles under a new law that will fine stores up to $50 for violating the ban.

As of January 1, it is unlawful in Concord to sell non-sparkling, unflavored drinking water in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles of 1 liter or less. The town manager will enforce the law. Stores found in violation of the bottled water ban will receive a warning on the first offense, followed by a $25 fine for a second violation and $50 for each subsequent offense.

The Town Council adopted the law following a three-year campaign by local activists who want to reduce waste and cut the use of fossil fuels used to make PET bottles, according to an AP report.

Every ton of PET manufactured produces around three tons of CO2, according to the nonprofit Pacific Institute, which says bottling water created more than 2.5 million tons of CO2 in 2006, and every liter sold represents three liters of water used in the production process.

Businesses, however, opposed the ban and argued it will drive bottled water sales out of town.

According to Beverage Marketing Corporation, an industry consulting and financial services firm, US bottled water production grew by 4.1 percent and reached an all-time high of 9.1 billion gallons in 2011, the most recent year for which statistics are available. Per capita consumption also reached a new peak of 29.2 gallons.

As of last March, in a move that may hurt the $22 billion US packaged-water industry, more than 90 educational institutions including Brown, Harvard and the University of Vermont had banned the sale of or restricted use of plastic water bottles on campus.

In the same month, food and drink manufacturer Danone announced it was partnering with biotech company Avantium to produce bio-based plastic bottles made from renewable material. A year earlier, Danone’s Evian brand moved to a lighter bottle made of up to 50 percent recycled PET.

Photo Credit: Nestle Waters

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17 thoughts on “Town Bans Bottled Water

  1. Is it not interesting that when a conservative does not like bottled water, a conservative will stop using bottled water, …but when a liberal does not like bottled water, a liberal will see to it that we all stop using bottled water
    This is a waste of legislative energy, and unnecessary interference in my life.
    Please spend your energy doing somethng about something important!!!!!, …and leave the rest of us alone.

  2. Of course, until Concord’s wall is completed and the moat filled with dragons, it is expected that many locals will smuggle water in from Lexington.

  3. Whilst this is a good initiative, it would not have come to be if all citizens disposed of their empty plastic bottles responsibly. Shakespeare’s Macbeth said, “We but teach bloody instructions, which, being taught, return to plague the inventor”. So very true.

  4. “Businesses, however, opposed the ban and argued it will drive bottled water sales out of town.”

    Brave move to go ahead despite the typical wining of business – somebody has to be first!

  5. Now, how are they going to sell water at events? I’m going to start selling bottled water at a markup just outside city limits, I think.

  6. I dont get it. Why cant we just switch to having filtrated water everywhere? Why not all the places that sell bottled water put in filtration devices with fountains and charge for an 8 oz drink from the fountain or people can fill up using their own bottle? A lot of people often drink the bottle of water they just bought in a under a minute anyway.

  7. Kind of dumb and not well thought out. Banning water bottles but not juice bottles or milk or the biggest – soda. I guess drinking more sugar is a better thing than pure water. Also, what is the water quality in Concord, MA versus bottled water. I gues they have a town council and Mayor who have nothing better to do. Maybe the town can set-up at no cost to tax payers filtered water stations and have that come out a revenue bond 🙂

  8. The main problem with bottled water is not the plastic trash that results, or the lack of recycling habits. The main problem is energy. It can take thousands of times as much energy to produce the bottles and to transport the filled bottles to the ultimate point of sale; than it does to supply an equivalent amount of municipal tap water to the consumer. After all, just stop for a moment to consider the hordes of bottled water delivery trucks that constantly ply our streets, burning gasoline to deliver a commodity that is already available at the destination. Municipal tap water – filtered if you prefer – is available nearly everywhere in the US; and it is of consistently high quality and among the safest sources of water to be found in the world. In fact, filtered municipal water is the water used in several of the bottled water brands anyway! Bottled water has no real value outside of niche circumstances, like emergencies. For all other situations, bring your own reusable bottle that you filled with your own filtered tap water at home.
    And there is no real point to comparing bottled water use with the use of bottled beverages like soda. I already have filtered tap water available at my house; but I don’t have a tap out of which soda flows. So it is entirely reasonable and consistent, to avoid commercial bottled water while continuing to buy the occasional soda bottle.

  9. Why did companies start making bottled water to begin with? Many reasons, I would say, but the main reason I buy bottled water is so that I am POISONED by the drinking water that is NOT bottled. Flouride is mandated in every water facility I know of, except the one where my father is the manager. He takes a $50,000 fine every month he refuses to pump flouride into the water at his plant. He has written letters, made phone calls and asked everyone he knows of to provide him a list of side effects and dangers of flouride so he can put it on the water bills he sends to his customer and has been refused this simple request for over a YEAR!! Why??? Because they don’t want us to know the dangers. THAT, Jen, is NOT considered a “lazy water consumption habit”… THAT is called protecting your body from poisons.

    • I think we’d all love to see the peer-reviewed evidence that fluoride, in the amounts present in drinking water, is a poison.

    • Got through about 30 sec. of this video before I got incredibly depressed. “Wouldn’t it make more sense to put vitamins in our water, which are meant to be ingested?” This is about a 4th-grade understanding of science. Why would vitamins in water make more sense than fluoride? A well-balanced diet will provide people with most of the vitamins they need. Taking an excess would not be advisable and could have ill health effects. Meanwhile, the level of fluoride used in drinking water has been demonstrated to be beneficial to human health. I feel saddened and need to lie down now.

  10. Maybe the leaders of Concord haven’t thought of this, but I cannot drink most sodas because I have an allergy to them. My main drink is bottled water. If I am visiting your town, I will be unable to find something to drink that is bottled and not alcoholic. Please reconsider. I would be one of those people who would have to leave your town to get water. I recycle EVERY bottle of water I buy here, so I am responsible with the bottles I buy. I would suggest the ample supply of recycling recepticles in your town, instead of banning water bottles. Besides, drinking water is healthier than drinking sodas, I’d rather see people drinking water any day. Don’t suggest coffee. I limit myself to only 2 cups a day, and I never have coffee after noon. Think of the tourist business you might lose because people can’t buy a single serving to take with them while touring your town, and then to fit in cupholders in their rental vehicles.

  11. Have any of you ever thought of…carrying your own bottle? If you dont like tap water, get a carbon filter. going into a cafe and buying a GLASS of water. If you are on holidays, rather than avoid a town for being environmentally responsible.. have a brain and carry your own container. You sound like you are more than likely to have an empty bottle in your car anyway. Honestly, some of the excuses on here are so pathetic… be a bit responsible for yourself, be prepared and not you will be fine. It sounds like you are more likely to die of stupidity than thirst. Its not just about whether you recycle, its about reducing waste… many people don’t recycle, its about reducing energy consumed in making the product and transporting it to your lazy asses. HONESTLY, you people are whats wrong with the world. #firstworldproblems #beabetterrolemodel

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