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