Patch Poll: Should Local Municipalities Consider Banning Bottled Water Sales?
A Massachusetts town has made the sale of water in plastic bottles illegal, although other soft drinks in plastic containers will be permitted.
Water didn't always come in plastic bottles.
It came in waterways and then wells—and then through pipes into homes and businesses. When you traveled, you'd fill a canteen, Thermos or another container with water. Or maybe stop by a gas station where you could buy an ice-cold soda pop in a recyclable/reusable glass bottle.
Although some people use eco-friendly, reusable plastic drink bottles, many others buy water in disposable, plastic bottles. In many cases, this is simply just city water, treated in the same way as the water that flows for a few cents from your tap.
The Concord Patch reports that after three years of debate, Concord, MA is one of the first communities in the U.S. to pass a by-law that bans the sale of single-serving plastic water bottles. An exception would be made only in case of emergency when regular water sources are contaminated or unavailable. The law does not prohibit residents from purchasing the water elsewhere.
According to the Associated Press, the plastic bottle ban resulted from a three-year campaign by local activists, pushing to reduce waste and fossil fuel use. The law went into effect Jan. 1, 2013. Concord's health division will enforce the ban, which includes fines of $25 for a second offense and $50 for each offense thereafter.
According to the Huffington Post, the Ban the Bottle campaign claims that it takes 17 million barrels of oil per year to make all the plastic water bottles used in the U.S., enough oil to fuel 1.3 million cars for a year. Ban the Bottle also claims that in 2007, Americans consumed over 50 billion single serve bottles of water. Because the recycling rate of only 23 percent, that means more than 38 billion bottles end up in landfills.
Concord's decision isn't just based on "being green." There is the economic consideration, too
According to Banthebottle.net, the recommended eight glasses of water a day, at U.S. tap rates equals about 49 cents per year. That same amount of bottled water is about $1,400.
Jean Hill, an 80-plus year old woman leading the charge in Concord, told the New York Times in a 2010 interview: "The bottled water companies are draining our aquifers and selling it back to us."
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