Banning Bottled Water: Can It Work?

Travel News — By Ben Van Loon on July 12, 2010 at 5:07 pm

There has been a recent controversy bubbling out near Walden Pond, in Concord, MA. First, there was movement in a town meeting over a year ago to ban bottled water. The actions in Concord were inspired by the first town in the world to voluntarily ban bottled water: Bundy, Australia. At the time the movement was passed in Bundy, 350 people showed up to the meeting, and 348 voted for the ban. Two of them voted against it, and one of those was part of the bottled water industry. Treehugger has an extensive write-up on the ground-breaking ban.

More recently, to inspire Concord, Bundy wrote an open letter encouraging them in their attempt to counter support of bottled water, most of which has been manufactured through marketing by the multi-million-dollar bottled-water industry. However, the open letter came out before Massachusetts State Attorney General Martha Coakley rejected Concord’s proposed ban on bottled water, claiming that the ban “does not come within the attorney general’s limited review authority.”

In short, controversy abounds on the steam-gathering trend of Bundanooning, which the Australians claim in their letter is becoming increasingly popular. In response to Martha Coakley’s denial, reports that the town will rally and re-think their anti-bottled-water strategy, putting the movement in bureaucratic language – like the beginning of Kafka’s many nightmares. Jean Hill, the 82 year-old Concord resident, is the figure behind the movement, and is learning the hard way what it is to go up against the State, and even worse, the Industry (who has already threatened to sue if the movement goes into effect.)

The people of Bundy accomplished the ban by doing it in a more proletarian way: giving up bottled water voluntarily. But until the millions and millions of people, who were initially convinced that bottled water is a good idea, can be educated and taught otherwise, other cities will have to (and currently do) try other tactics to counter the industry push, which is equal parts false advertising and environmental destruction. San Francisco, Seattle, and Chicago have already made movements, and others are attempting to follow.

We wishConcord good luck, and if/when the law goes into true effect, it may be yet another move toward a healthier Earth.

[Image: greendogpetsupply]

Tags: austrailia, Ban, bottled water, bundanoon, bundy, concord, proletarian, walden pond


  • Yip Bop the Green Bottle man says:

    It is really important to note that many people give their children plastic water bottles and reuse them daily and a weekly basis. This is very dangerous as the plastic contains chemical such as Bisphenol which can leak into the water when heated up (by the sun). Using a stainless steel bottle will definitely prevent this danger.

  • Daniel says:

    We recently compiled a list of reasons for and against banning bottled water. Our list was targeted toward universities, but the same principles apply to these municipalities that are considering a ban (of which San Francisco is the latest).

    We at Filters Fast preach ad nauseum about the consequences of this nation’s bottled water habit, but at the same time I think consumers should have a right to choose. Also, there are times when clean water just isn’t available through the tap (the recent Boston “Aquapocalypse” is proof of that). Therefore I think bottled water should be available, and we as a nation really need to cut back our reliance on it. Can we do that without our governments imposing a ban on us? That remains to be seen, but I’d like to think so.

    We’d love to get your opinion on the article we wrote, in which we interviewed many schools that had considered a similar ban:

  • TheReviewer says:

    Ban it. Bring back the tap. Bottled water is an even bigger scam than corn/cellulose based ethanol and clean coal.

  • Jo Dean says:

    What kind of egghead would pay for bottled water? I got some bottled beach air for you to buy!


  • ILikeBottledWater says:

    Spring water is has a pure taste that tap and purified water doesn’t. I don’t care if you ban purified water because it is just tap water but spring water is different. It should be able to be sold anywhere.

  • James says:

    Prior to watching the doco Blue Gold : World Water Wars, I was one of the many who didn’t realise just how lucky we are to have clean water accessible from just about anywhere in New Zealand. Our rivers and lakes are clean enough to drink out of! Even with our access to clean water we still have a huge amount of bottled water stashed in corner stores, supermarkets and cafes. Heck, I’d be all for paying twice the price of a bottle of water for an empty (and safe plastic) container to fill myself. At least that way we don’t have the dependence on some US-based corporate pig doing the same thing.

    Power to the people! Persuade retailers to not stock bottled water, and instead promote reusable bottles to ‘fill your own’. Banning it is a touch extreme, but I admire the ethic.

  • Schlomo says:

    I hope the bans will stop short of affecting ALL bottled waters.

    No matter how much the municipal tap water boosters try, they simply cannot compete for absence of pollutants, hazardous chemicals, or on the basis of taste alone. There is also the American principal of choice, something absent in totalitarian, communistic regimes.

    Where we live, the tap water is so foul with chlorine that just the fumes coming up from the sink will sometimes trigger my gag reflex. Our municipal water is both fluoridated and chlorinated. Both Chlorine and Fluorine are DREADFUL POISONS, that attack the central nervous system, and are beginning to be suspected of helping bring on early Alzheimers Disease.

    Chlorine also kills all your body’s natural “flora”, the bacteria you need in your intestines, to be properly nourished by the food you eat. Tap water contains this and much other nasty stuff that is carcinogenic or evil towards your future well-being.

    People voting to ban reasonably healthy alternative means of drinking water, make me think of Reverend Jim Jones persuading all his parishoners to DRINK THE KOOL-AID!!

    ElIminating safe alternative sources of drinking water is STUPID, STUPID, STUPID.

  • Bystander says:

    The greatest revelation to the bottled water consumer should have been when Dasani and Aquafina (bottled by Coca-Cola and Pepsi respectively) admitted that their product used municipal water supplies. These two products are regularly in the top ten bottled water brands sold, and they are nothing but local water filtered through reverse osmosis, a process you can set up in your home.

    When you think about that you should also realize that they have bottled Coke (or Pepsi, whichever you prefer) without the Coke process and sold it to you for almost the same price (at the time I write this a local store is selling 1 litre bottles of Coke for $2.10 and 1L Dasani water for $1.89.)

  • Prince Charles the Idiot says:

    Hahaha – American “principal” of choice! Do you mean “principle”? Please explain how choice is, as you put it, American? Is there a list of these American principles?

    American Principles:

    1.) Free Market
    2.) Obesity
    3.) Idiocy
    4.) English
    5.) Choice
    6.) Jesus

    I think you’ve been drinking the funny Kool-Aid Schlomo. You are, as True Americans(TM) love to say: “Ate up with it.”

    That’s up there with freedom fries.

  • Steve K. says:

    What is really the issue here? Is it that bottled water really needs to be banned? Or is it the packaging and carbon footprint of shipping the bottled water that’s the issue? Why not attack the issue directly? Do not “ban” bottled water. Find a better way to package it (non-toxic, recyclable, reusable materials) and a better way to distribute it (non-polluting energy efficient vehicles). Banning bottled water is crazy. Sometimes you need to have access to water that may not otherwise be available. You also may want to store water for emergency purposes.

    Just be smart about it, rather than alarmist.

  • Ethan says:

    As someone who lives in Arizona I couldn’t see something like this being beneficial. I’m not a big fan of bottled water, but this is the desert and people need to drink. I’d like to think grown adults are responsible enough to engage in safe practices when it comes to use and disposal of bottle water.

    I hardly ever buy a bottle of water myself, perhaps once every 6-7 months, and I would be rather miffed if I was thirsty and I wasn’t allowed the opportunity to drink some water.

  • Jeremy says:

    Well I guess next time I’m out and thirsty, I will have to buy soda and then reuse that bottle, because water should only be drank if it comes from home. I could care less if it is the same water I get at home. It is convenient if I happen to be out and don’t want other drinks.

  • Rachel says:

    Who on earth thinks it’s a good idea to ban bottled water in schools? A few kids might bring stainless steel containers to fill, but most kids will just go back to soda (which is far more harmful to our bodies and the planet than bottled water). Discouraging the use of bottled water is definitely a noble cause, but let’s consider possible unintended consequences. Some schools are under contract with soda companies and are only able to stay within those contracts (which they’ve already signed) and still offer healthy solutions to their students by banning soda and only bringing in water. Also consider that most students don’t have total access to water throughout the day like we adults do. They have just 5 minutes to grab their books from their lockers, use the restroom, drink a few sips from the water fountain, and get to the next class. So if we want to ban bottled water from schools, we also need to ban juice and soda, provide stainless steel bottles (maybe either to purchase, or one per kid for each year to discourage wasting the stainless steel bottles) *and* a source of fresh-tasting water.

  • James says:

    I think this biased author is a moron. Bottled water is sometimes much better than the crap you get from the tap. If it were to get banned here, I wouldn’t have anything to drink, because when I moved here there was a note on my counter warning me not to consume the water as it has been shown to cause cancer, among several other much more dangerous diseases, and those who’ve had it before, me, are exponentially more likely to get cancer again. So maybe that old hag should just move to Bundy and let us have things the way we want/need them…what is that called? FREEDOM OF CHOICE.

  • NuHaiskor says:

    Banning a product that is dangerous to our planet’s environment? TYRANNY!
    Banning a product that is dangerous to our bodies? COMMUNISM!
    Companies that exploit the public by spreading misinformation? LIBERTY! JUSTICE! FREEDOM!

    Stop. Look. Think about what the bigger picture is. A human being’s three most basic needs are shelter, food and >water<. If you deprive a person of water, they will not survive longer than six days. And, even though this commodity is the only thing keeping every form of Life in existence alive, we are making it poisonous for profit. What?

    Bottom line: water needs to be available, healthy for consumption, and healthy for disposal.

    We've given the free market a chance to change in respects to bottled water. Why would they make a cheap process more expensive? No, we need to impose laws on the production of bottled water. Banning might seem extreme, but at least it is better than what we are doing now: sitting on our collective behinds and (perhaps) reading the comments of an article online.

  • Ranavalona says:

    It seems we have forgotten about how drinks were distributed before plastic bottles. Water can be still distributed as it is now in reusable glass bottles. Bottle would cost couple of cents and that would be an incentive to take it back to the shop to be reused/recycled.

    I am sure this small effort will be against some BS “principle of freedom” for some lazy fat ass, but rest of us has a freedom of choice and we can choose not to care about lazy fat asses and instead we can care about environment we live in.

  • Nir Sharma says:

    It would surely be a good idea to ban the plastic bottles altogether throughout the world! In my country, Nepal, around the main highway leading up to the capital, Kathmandu, numerous empty bottles and food packaging are thrown by locals and tourists alike that has made the highway look preety filthy!

    But places a few kilometres further from roads are much much cleaner! I don’t argue to stop development, but whatever seems to harm the environment must be stopped and plastic bottles are really a big cause of pollution in the country! Our country even lacks a proper recycling plant and the bottles if collected needs to be sent to India which thus discourages even many environmentally aware people to take action in reducing them! However these days many schools and educational institutions have declared themselves plastic free area and this has sown the seeds to make a more aware generation in the future! But the present and the near future is pretty bleak for our country! And profiting from this situation are many multinational companies like Pepsi, Coca-cola as well as many irresponsible local companies!

    Thus lets stop using it at all and it will then really make these irresponsible water packaging companies to confront us!

  • kimberly says:

    There are great points on both sides of this argument, but I have a solution for everyone. There are machines called water ionizers that you can buy and hook up to your sink which will provide you with water that contains 3 properties that are as healthy and beneficial to you as the “healing waters” in lourdes, france or dehli, india. these machines are classified as medical devices in japan and have been used in hospitals there for over 35 years. the 3 properties are
    1. a negative ORP which means it is a powerful antioxidant
    2. an alkaline pH
    3. microclustering of the molecules into hexagonal water which increases hydration bc these water molecules can penetrate your cells much easier than the normal bulky water molecules of 15-90 in a cluster.
    if you would like more info about how this amazing water can give you back your health, please contact me @
    i can even explain the science of the ionizer so that u can be certain tha it works.

  • Jack Flask says:

    I would agree with banning plastic bottled water. Tap is great where I am and so much cheaper…


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