Concord, Mass., bans single-serving plastic water bottles

by Walter Olson on September 9, 2012

“According to the bylaw approved by residents in April, it will be illegal to sell non-sparkling and unflavored drinking water in single-serving plastic bottles of 1 liter or less in Concord on or after Jan. 1, 2013.” Jean Hill, the chief proponent of the measure, cited environmental concerns and said, “I feel bottled water is a waste of money.” Thanks for saving us from that temptation, ma’am! [Boston Globe; Wicked Local Concord]

{ 1 trackback }

“You want to protect people who don’t have the knowledge or the information.” - Overlawyered
10.03.12 at 11:15 am

{ 18 comments }

1 dks2008 09.09.12 at 9:52 am

i truly hope their water supply never gets contaminated.

also? why i no longer live on the east coast. you can keep your nannyism.

2 Scott Lazarowitz 09.09.12 at 10:34 am

How much would the empty water bottles actually hurt human life, as compared to all the cancerous high fructose corn syrup in all those other beverages that they will still allow to be sold?

3 Smart dude 09.09.12 at 10:43 am

Wait a second. I’m confused. I thought I wasn’t supposed to drink more than 16 ounces, according to nanny Bloomberg.

I’m going to get very dehydrated under the reign of the insane liberals.

4 Peyote Short 09.09.12 at 11:00 am

Wouldn’t the logic that applies to a single serving of tap water be similar to a single serving of any beverage? How does adding high-fructose corn syrup make the contents of the bottle more special?

@dks2008, if the drinking water were contaminated, you’d probably want to buy more than 1 liter at a time. A five gallon bottle of water actually costs less than 1 liter, in many cases.

I can’t help but to wonder if we wouldn’t have been better off if the $billions spent on bottled water might have been better used to upgrade everybody’s tap water.

Alas, city utilities don’t have the sexy marketing resources of giant beverage corporations.

I’ll kind of miss those smaller bottles that fit so nicely in the pockets of my backpack, but I can refill a soda bottle with tap water.

5 marco73 09.09.12 at 12:33 pm

Well, the ban is only at the retail level now. Apparently transporting and possession aren’t criminal offenses – yet.
Haven’t any of these people heard of Prohibition? I’d love to own the closest retail outlet outside their border. Something tells me that store will have a significant increase in bottled water sales starting in 2013.
This is how Liberty will end – with a black market on bottled water.

6 Bumper 09.09.12 at 1:18 pm

Lewis Black explains bottled water.

Warning adult language.

7 Peyote Short 09.09.12 at 1:46 pm

@marco73 Ha ha! Belmont (Springs) is 11 miles down the road. Now I see it — a clever conspiracy by the bottled water barons!

8 Ed 09.09.12 at 3:37 pm

The people who fought the Battle of Concord must be spinning in their graves.

9 VMS 09.09.12 at 5:50 pm

I believe bottled water is a waste of money too (in general), but I would let the free market decide the question. But even I have been known to buy a bottle at grossly inflated prices on a hot day when I feel dehydrated rather than buy a sugary soda.

Also, in areas where the city water is of poor quality tastewise (Concord, MA comes to mind), buying a case of single serving bottles from Costco may make sense. I cannot imagine that the external costs of disposing of the flimsy plastic bottles is more than a penny each. Besides the Concord/Lincoln area in MA is very well-to-do and can afford this luxury.

10 asdfasdf 09.09.12 at 8:42 pm

Actually, this is an important precedent for the notion that the government can ban a product merely because it asserts that buying the product would be a “waste of money.” Historically, consumers were free to buy products that others considered a waste of money so long as certain health and safety regulations were met.

The notion that bottled water is environmentally unsafe seems specious on its face since it is obviously no more unsafe than every other bottled drink.

In the grand scheme of things, one municipality enacting a bizarre ban seems minor. But in the context of the nonsensical decade-long PR blitz against bottled water it’s an important step to this new philosophy for the U.S. where people try to ban others – whose specific situation and preferences they know nothing about – from making purchases they disagree with.

The key question here is why Jean Hill, the “84-year-old Concord resident” believes she should have the right to determine whether the purchases of every other resident in Concord? Is she really smarter and more knowledgeable about every other resident’s specific preferences and situation?

11 Fox 2! 09.10.12 at 12:39 am

10asdfasdf,

In answer to your question, yes, she is smarter than every other person now or ever living in Concord. Because. Just buy your water in Lexington.

12 marco73 09.10.12 at 7:36 am

I believe that bottled water is a waste as a daily purchase, but I’m sure not going to tell anyone how they should spend their own money.

Every person who has lived in Florida more than a couple months knows to keep several cases of bottled water on hand. We have those pesky storms called hurricanes, and after a hurricane you can be left without power and running water for days. Having your personal supply of drinking water available can be a lifesaver.

Of course, the fine folks of New England don’t have to worry about hurricanes. Oh, wait:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Irene_(2011)

13 No Name Guy 09.10.12 at 12:15 pm

One liter or less…..hmmmm. I think someone will start selling 1.01 liter bottles in the near future.

14 Peyote Short 09.10.12 at 12:31 pm

Yeah, @NoNameGuy. Or Nature flavored water.

BTW, I just spend $1.75 for 16 hours of water at a Mass Pike rest stop.

15 David Schwartz 09.10.12 at 1:08 pm

Why do they hate Freedom so much?

16 Mannie 09.10.12 at 3:23 pm

It’s not the cheapest source of water, but I keep a flat of bottled water in my crew van for my employees. The bottles keep the water clean, and available. The bottles are portable and convenient. I suppose I could bolt an Eskimo Boy to the truck, but I would be concerned about the water and the paper cups getting contaminated.

17 GregS 09.10.12 at 6:18 pm

Fortunately it appears to still be legal to sell soft drinks full of sugar in single-serving bottles. So when you’re thirsty in Concord, just reach for a sweet, sweet bottle of your favorite soda.

18 wfjag 09.10.12 at 7:05 pm

Query — how does this not violate the dormant Commerce Clause analysis?

@ VMS:
“I believe bottled water is a waste of money too (in general), but I would let the free market decide the question. But even I have been known to buy a bottle at grossly inflated prices on a hot day when I feel dehydrated rather than buy a sugary soda”

You indirectly raise an objection I have to crap like this. My youngest is special needs. To avoid getting bladder infections and a host of other health problems, it is necessary that he drink a lot of water (16 to 24 oz)daily (and to avoid weight gain, and other problems up to and including Type II Diabetes, he shouldn’t be drinking sugary drinks, or even diet drinks — if you look at what is in them, you’ll understand that drinking several a day is likely unhealthy).

A very workable solution to that is one his dentist suggested — bottled water with non-sugar fruit flavorings. He’ll add those to 2 to 4 8-oz water bottles each day, and so drink enough water without also drinking sugar and all the other stuff found in sugared and diet drinks. And, don’t suggest that he should just take containers which I fill with water each day — tried that and the containers never came home with him. I don’t know if they were thrown away or someone else took them, all I know is that they disappeared. I cannot afford to buy such containers each day, but the bottled waters are about $3 for 24 8-oz bottles, and so are nearly the cost of the boxes of non-sugar fruit flavorings. So for 50 cents to a dollar per day, he’s getting the water intake he needs to stay healthy, without sugar or other things in sugary and diet drinks (the cost of which would run $4 to $6 per day for the same amount of fluids).

In my opinion, this ordinance is just another example of “feel good” progressiveism promoted by people who don’t give a real damn about people with real needs. If you are concerned about the disposal costs of such plastic bottles, put a 1 or 2 cent return/deposit on them, and let the kids who collect cans from the side of the road have another source of income. Otherwise, the effects of such a law is to harm those who are least able to take care of themselves.

Comments on this entry are closed.