Single-Serve Plastic Water Bottle Ban Too Green?

Concord, Mass., bans single-serve plastic water bottles. Good move for a greener environment or too far?

The Concord Patch reports that after three years of debate, Concord 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. Led by local activists pushing to reduce waste and fossil fuel use, the by-law passed by a Counted Majority Vote of 403 voting in favor and 364 opposed and went into effect Jan. 1, 2013.

Those in favor of the ban see it as an opportunity to reduce the overall consumption of plastics. 

The Concord Conserves, a local blog outlining the pros of the movement for low-impact living, says not only is the local tap water healthy, safe and economical, plastic bottles contribute to pollution in many ways. According to the site, "every year, the bottled water industry produces as much carbon dioxide as 2 million cars, contributing to global warming, which is now recognized as a serious threat to humanity by the world scientific community."

Their statistics say that less than 25 percent of plastic water bottles are actually recycled, with tons ending up in landfills or litter.  

Those in opposition feel it takes away personal freedoms and represents a form of prohibition with no practical benefits for individual citizens. They also state that the by-law does not provide adequate emergency measures, citing that, "It would take several days to supply Concord with single-serving bottled water if needed."

How it reads: 

According to the city's website, the ban affects local businesses: "It shall be unlawful to sell non-sparkling, unflavored drinking water in single-serving polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles of 1 liter (34 ounces) or less in the Town of Concord on or after January 1, 2013."

So, within the city, local businesses are selling Concord On Tap-stamped Camelbak reusable water bottles that residents can fill from their taps.

And while the ban is on the SALE of single serve water bottles, residents can still buy from nearby cities and bring them into Concord.

What do you think? Is this a law that other cities should consider? Or is it a "feel good" prohibition that will be difficult to enforce? Is this a law you would support if given the opportunity?

Good Grief Y'all January 03, 2013 at 10:36 PM
President Obama is not the mayor of Concord, Mass.
Laura Cofman January 04, 2013 at 02:58 AM
City government is still the government.It is not the role of the city government or any other branch of government to DICTATE how we live our lives. The lobbyists are the culprit too.
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew January 04, 2013 at 03:24 AM
It brings back glass bottles and recycling, turn them in and get a quarter...
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew January 04, 2013 at 03:25 AM
If you ban plastic, only criminals will have water ... Oh wait DOH!
Good Grief Y'all January 04, 2013 at 11:53 AM
But city government is not the federal government and not under the President's control, yet you seem to blame local laws on him. All cities have their own ordinances and are controlled by the locals. Many of those are unpopular. You can't please everyone all the time, nor some any of the time.
Good Grief Y'all January 04, 2013 at 12:09 PM
Maybe Concord MA has a problem with the littering of those single serve bottles. People want their expensive conveniences and don't worry about the damage to the landscape, the planet or even their own personal economy. Conservatives protest about leaving their grandchildren with massive federal debt. They should be more worried about the condition of the planet they're leaving for future generations.
Laura Cofman January 04, 2013 at 01:53 PM
I still say that it is not up to the local government to take away our "choices". It is in the constitution. Let the marketplace decide. If enough people agree that individual bottles are polluting, etc, they will stop buying it and then if there is no demand, the supply will go away or lessen. The government at any level does not have a HEART. They only care about money and getting elected.
Good Grief Y'all January 04, 2013 at 03:35 PM
Evidently enough people in Concord agreed and persuaded the city council. By the time we wait for enough people to grow a conscience about the environment, it will be too late . . . may already be. The greater good has to be considered. In olden days people could smoke wherever and whenever they wanted to, polluting the air non-smokers and children had to breathe, exposing them to carcinogens. 2nd-hand smoke produced enough cancers to bring awareness and changes in laws and the culture to benefit the greater population. Without those new laws we would still be coughing in restaurants while smokers enjoy their right to light up. Individual rights to pollute the planet are not equal to majority rights to breathe clean air and drink clean water. When the govt. takes away your right to water, that's a real concern, not what container it is sold in.
Laura Cofman January 04, 2013 at 04:20 PM
By definition, the laws are designed to protect us against other people, not ourselves. So, your example about smoking in a public place is valid, only because the concern about second hand smoke. Why wait for a problem to implement change. My grandfather used to say, "find a need and fill it". He was a highly successful entrepreneur. If someone has an idea to take the water you and I drink and sell it in a bottle, they have a right to do it. By restricting how something is sold, that takes away our freedoms and further turns our Repbulic into a socialist society. If there is too much smoke in a restaurant, express your belief by not spending your money there. The restaurant owners will eventually get the picture.
Good Grief Y'all January 04, 2013 at 07:00 PM
The laws in many cities have changed to prohibit smoking in restaurants - not the federal govt.'s doing. If that were not so, we would still have to put up with it in restaurants. People who smoke aren't so concerned about the damage to themselves or others, same with polluting. People don't always do what is right or what is smart, just what they want to do because they can, and they often inflict their selfishness on others. Bottlers weren't prevented from using cheap plastic bottles of any size to sell. Change for the better occurs following awareness. The city of Concord has become aware. It is not preventing the bottling in single-serve containers or your purchase of them elsewhere, or even drinking them in their city.
Good Grief Y'all January 04, 2013 at 07:23 PM
"the laws are designed to protect us against other people, not ourselves." Exactly.
LP. January 04, 2013 at 10:08 PM
I'm not for new laws & would like the government to be smaller. That being said, why is anyone still buying water in these plastic bottles?!? Are you too stupid & lazy to purchase a reusable non-BPA bottle? The are HEALTHIER for you & your spoiled kids, they don't weigh more and save you money! The benefit to the environment is just an added bonus. Also why doesn't GA have deposits on all it's cans & bottles? Other states have done this for many, many years & it certainly helps keep recyclable materials out of landfills. This would require the dumb and lazy to be a little less lazy even though you can't fix them being dumb.
Racer X January 05, 2013 at 02:19 PM
GGY- You should get off Laura's back, you are like a bulldog. Why didn't Concorde ban ALL plastic bottles? You take the one group who is making the healthy choice to drink water and penalizing them. In light of the AMAZING 33% obesity rate in our country, if we were to let the government ban things, it ought to be sodas in plastic bottles. This law is just non-sense and typical of the bed-wetters in Massachusetts. Laura- You make a heck of a lot more sense in this argument.
Racer X January 05, 2013 at 02:24 PM
Lise P.- The deposit idea is a good one, I think. But, for the record, the spoiled kids are drinking 20oz Cokes, Dr. Peppers, etc, not bottled water. The parents who encourage bottled water are being far more responsible than those who fill there kids with sugar, caffeine and high-fructose corn syrup. A re-usable non-BPA bottle is by far the best choice, just harder to keep track of with multiple kids :-)
Racer X January 05, 2013 at 02:52 PM
BC- Another stroke of the broad brush eh? Your statement is not true. Not all bottled water "comes from the same municipal sources" as tap water though, admittedly, some does. Here is a very informative article regarding water from the EPA: http://www.epa.gov/ogwdw/faq/pdfs/fs_healthseries_bottlewater.pdf Even though many bottled waters do come from municipal taps, a large number of those are re-filtered to remove more of the impurities that the municipal systems do not.
John B January 05, 2013 at 04:11 PM
And GGY weaves her agenda in once again...plastic bottles are the fault of conservatives....you are so full of hot air....Laura...please don't engage with GGY....she is the smartest person on the Patch...if you don't believe it just ask her.
John B January 05, 2013 at 04:14 PM
Won't happen X man...you know GGY has to have the last word....regardless of how stupid her arguement may be....
Good Grief Y'all January 05, 2013 at 07:42 PM
Racer X and John B, why don't you get off my back? I have every bit as much right to express my opinion as anyone else on these threads. But unlike you two I don't insult and use vulgar language and analogies. You can't stand someone having an opposing opinion, and it really bothers you because you can't logically refute them. I'm not the only one who posts opposite your views but you choose to bully me!? I was having a conversation with Laura based on her comments and she on mine. None of you damn business, either of you. If Laura or anyone else doesn't like what I post, don't make comments. If you can't take it, don't dish it out. What a couple of jerks you two are. The last time I heard from you two you were making vulgar comments to me.
Good Grief Y'all January 05, 2013 at 07:47 PM
John B, you're one of the biggest bullies on Patch threads. When someone doesn't agree with you or someone you agree with, you pile on. Why don't you make your comments without calling others out? What's that? No original thoughts from you? That's what I thought. Jerk. Yes, conservatives who bitch about environmental protections and enforcements are the ones who are responsible for leaving a damaged world for future generations, plastic bottles and all.
Good Grief Y'all January 05, 2013 at 07:48 PM
Congratulations, Laura, you have just acquired a couple of cheerleaders and defenders.
Racer X January 05, 2013 at 07:49 PM
John B- It was just a matter of time :-)
Good Grief Y'all January 05, 2013 at 07:53 PM
But don't get too excited Laura, it's no compliment. They're just coming after me. It wouldn't matter what you said. If I had agreed with you, they would trash both of us. They have quite the history for such shenanigans on these threads.
Good Grief Y'all January 05, 2013 at 07:55 PM
Watch out, folks, the Racer X-John B tag team has just entered the thread - and destroyed what used to be a conversation. It will only get uglier now. That's their specialty.
Laura Cofman January 05, 2013 at 11:22 PM
Anyone is allowed to contribute to this or any other thread. It is called Freedom of Speech. Let's all stay on topic, shall we?
Jim S January 06, 2013 at 12:26 AM
I work downtown, so I bought a Brita water pitcher with filter. I fill it up each morning that I am working and have enough water for the day.
John B January 06, 2013 at 12:59 PM
and GGY lives in a house without mirrors.......
John B January 06, 2013 at 01:02 PM
Wrong again GGY...wouldn't go after Laura at all. Your true colors certainly come out when you're angry. I thought liberals were much more level headed...oh that's right...you are a moderate!
Good Grief Y'all January 07, 2013 at 12:05 AM
Ahhh, John B, you must be a born and bred Southerner. You're such a gentleman :0 Thanks for proving my point a couple of more times.
Good Grief Y'all January 07, 2013 at 12:12 AM
I know I'm not the smartest person on Patch. Sounds like you think I am. Thanks for the accidental compliment, John B.
Good Grief Y'all January 07, 2013 at 12:18 PM
John B, I am level headed. That's why your immature, irrelevant and insulting comments annoy me. No one likes to be ambushed on these threads, but you and your buddy make it a point to do that to me. MYOB. If you can't post relative to the comments and do so with substance, you're just an irritation and not a solution. It really doesn't matter what the post is about - if President Obama is mentioned, you guys zoom in and snipe. Looks like you two have a pact of some sort. That's showing your true colors.


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