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Archive for August 25th, 2008

The anti-bottled water bandwagon

August 25, 2008 @ 00:27 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, Environment

Have you noticed that it’s become fashionable for cities to ban bottled water?  It started earlier this summer with Vancouver declaring war on bottled water.  They feel that since tap water in their city is perfectly fine more people should be drinking it at home rather than buying bottled water.

If a city council wants to lead by example and ban the sale of bottled water on their premises, that’s not a bad thing.  In fact, it’s to be expected.  But they need to provide alternatives such as water fountains.

A lot of cities have vending machines in their buildings that offer a wide variety of soft drinks, power drinks, sports drinks, and bottled water.  Arguably, bottled water is the probably the healthiest drink in that list.  If you take away bottled water, people going to the vending machines will almost certainly be choosing the less-healthy alternative.

Last week, London announced it was jumping on the bandwagon by banning the sale of bottled water in city facilities.  Their rationale was that over the last few years they noticed that garbage trucks were getting lighter, rather than heavier.  They should have been getting heavier as time marched on and more trash was diverted to the recycling stream.  But they were getting lighter because the number of empty plastic bottles being thrown into the trash rather than the recycling boxes.  A non-trivial problem and since they can’t ban the sale of bottled water in their city, they chose also chose to lead by example and ban the sale of bottled water in city facilities.

North Bay, on the other hand, has indicated they’re not jumping on this particular bandwagon because they’d rather deal with some unrecycled plastic bottles in their landfills and have people pick a bottle of water over a bottle of pop.

“If people have the choice between bottled water and pop, we would rather they choose a bottle of water” — Alan Korell, North Bay’s managing director of engineering and environmental works (from an article in The Nugget)

It’ll be interesting to see which other cities hop on the anti-bottled water bandwagon and why.  Guelph looks like they’re getting ready and a couple of councillors in Ottawa have been making noises, too.

Any bets as to who’s next?