Stop Attacking Bottled Water!

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Environmentalists want to wean us off bottled water. So do the residents of Concord, Massachusetts. In fact, they want to ban it entirely. The plastic-wasting, trash-producing product will, if some residents have their way, be completely absent from their town.

But not everyone's ready to scrap Poland Springs, even in the bastion of liberalism known as Eastern Massachusetts. Tom Keane, for one, would like Concord to back off a bit. Sure, bottled water is wasteful, he admits in the Boston Globe Magazine. It's the same stuff you get from the tap, except it comes with plastic.

But from a different viewpoint, how is it that pure, clean, noncaloric water should be banned, but if you take the same stuff, carbonate it, and then add lots of sugar, artificial coloring, and some flavor, it's OK? The residents of Concord aren't rising up against any other beverage except water (even though water containers, usually lighter than the stronger containers needed for carbonated beverages, consume less plastic and are cheaper to ship).

It's nonsensical, he says. We've finally begun training a generation to drink water instead of Coke, and now we want them to stop: very few are going to be willing to cart Nalgenes around with them, and water fountains are either broken or disgusting.

So put down the recycled-plastic pitchforks, he says. "When people grab an Aquafina from the shelves instead of a Mountain Dew, that's one less sugary drink they’ll be consuming. ... If marketers could persuade everyone to make bottled water their beverage of choice, we'd all be better off."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.