Town Bans Bottled Water: Concord, Mass. Makes Small Plastic Water Bottles Illegal

By Amir Khan on January 4, 2013 8:44 AM EST

Water Bottle
Concord, Mass. banned bottled water from the town (Photo: Creative Commons)

A town bans bottled water, a move that will cut down on trash and waste in the town of Concord, Mass. The bottled water ban, which went into effect on January 1, makes selling small bottles of water illegal in the town, and violators can expect to be hit with an escalating fine.

The town that bans bottled water made it illegal to sell non-sparkling, unflavored drinking water in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles that are one liter or less. Stores that violate the bottled water ban will receive a warning on the first offense, a $25 fine on the second, and a $50 fine for each subsequent offense.

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Jean Hill, an 84-year-old activist, championed the ban in 2010.

"The bottled water companies are draining our aquifers and selling it back to us," Hill said in 2010. "I'm going to work until I drop on this."

The bottled water ban will reduce tons of Carbon Dioxide and waste, according to the nonprofit Pacific Institute.

"The manufacture of every ton of PET produces around 3 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2," the institute says on its website. "Bottling water thus created more than 2.5 million tons of CO2 in 2006."

The bottled water ban will also reduce the amount of plastic waste that gets thrown away.

"Americans bought a total of 31.2 billion liters of water in 2006, sold in bottles ranging from the 8-ounce aquapods popular in school lunches to the multi-gallon bottles found in family refrigerators and office water coolers," the institute said. "Most of this water was sold in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, requiring nearly 900,000 tons of the plastic. PET is produced from fossil fuels - typically natural gas and petroleum."

However, many people feel the ban will ultimately be useless, as residents can simply drive to a nearby town to buy water bottles.

"We know there's been an increase in people buying more water," Mike Abboud, a manager at a convenience store just over the Concord line, told the Boston Globe.  "They're going to get it anyway. You ban it in Concord, they'll come to Acton."

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