Skip to main content

Sami Siva/The Globe and Mail

In "green" Vancouver, it's not uncommon to see picnicking families haul out lawn chairs, hibachis and flats of single-serving plastic water bottles – even with taps of some of the world's best municipal drinking water just a few steps away.

South of the border, a Massachusetts town has decided that flagrant consumption of plastic water bottles should no longer fly.

Concord, Mass., has banned the sale of single-serving plastic water bottles, the Boston Herald reports. The bylaw, posted on the Town of Concord's website, states: "It shall be unlawful to sell non-sparkling, unflavored drinking water in single-serving polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles of 1 litre (34 ounces) or less in the Town of Concord on or after Jan. 1, 2013."

Story continues below advertisement

Violators face up to a $50 (U.S.) fine, with Concord's Health Division responsible for enforcing the ban.

Critics say the measure will hurt local businesses, since single-serving bottles can be purchased in other towns within walking distance.

"It's kind of dumb," Concord resident Camille Galejs told local news organization WHDH. But how smart is it to pay through the nose for a commodity that's practically free?

The recommended eight glasses of water a day, at U.S. tap rates, equals about 49 cents a year. The same amount of bottled water costs about $1,400, according to the tap water activist group Ban the Bottle.

Over the past 30 years, corporations have branded what was once a free natural resource into a multibillion-dollar industry, while raising doubts about the taste and safety of local drinking water, says Peter Gleick, a freshwater expert and author of Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession with Bottled Water .

"I think for the most part, we have great tap water," Gleick told NPR.

Libertarians may argue that with recycling facilities readily available, there's no reason to restrict freedom of choice.

Story continues below advertisement

But, unfortunately, the recycling rate for plastic water bottles is less than 25 per cent, which means in the United States alone, more than 38 billion bottles a year end up in landfills, Fast Company reports.

Cleaning up parks littered with discarded water bottles is no picnic either.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter
To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies