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Concord, MA enacts water bottle ban

The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) issued the following statement regarding the banning of bottled water sales in Concord, Massachusetts.

“On January 1, 2013, a law prohibiting the sale of single-serve non-sparkling, unflavored drinking water in PET plastic containers of one liter (34 ounces) in size or less went into effect. This ban also includes bottled water sold in cases and individual bottles sold via vending machines. IBWA opposes this ban on a healthy, safe, convenient and refreshing beverage choice.

“IBWA continues to work with its members, the Northeast Bottled Water Association (NEBWA), Massachusetts business and industry associations, and citizens and businesses in Concord to prepare for next steps in the fight against the law. Reflecting local opposition to the ban, on January 2, 2013, the group Concord Residents for Consumer Choice filed a petition to repeal the law at the April 2013 Town Hall meeting.

“People need to drink more water. The consumption of water, whether from the bottle or the tap, is a good thing and supports people’s pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. Any actions that discourage people from drinking bottled water are not in the public interest. People choose bottled water for several reasons, including its refreshing taste, reliable quality, zero calories and additives, and convenience. Banning or restricting access to bottled water in the marketplace directly impacts the right of people to choose the healthiest beverage on the shelf. And for many, bottled water is a critical alternative to other packaged beverages, which are often less healthy. Bottled water must therefore be available wherever packaged beverages are sold.

“For those who want to eliminate or moderate calories, sugar, caffeine, artificial flavors or colors and other ingredients from their diet, choosing bottled water is the right choice.

“With one-third of American adults now considered obese, and an increase in children’s obesity rates from 5 to 17 percent over the past 30 years, drinking lower or zero-calorie beverages, such as water, instead of sugary beverages is regularly cited as a key component of a more healthful lifestyle. Now more than ever, picking bottled water is a smart decision and a healthy choice when it comes to beverage options.

“The bottled water industry supports a strong public water system. However, the water from public water systems is often compromised after emergency situations or natural disasters (e.g., hurricanes, floods, tornados, fires or boil alerts). During these times, bottled water is a necessary and reliable option to deliver clean, safe drinking water.

“This ban deprives Concord residents and visitors of their choice of beverages, deprive the town of needed tax revenue, and harms local businesses that rely on bottled water sales.”