Concord, MA has become one of the first communities to ban the sale of bottled water in individual serving bottles. These bans that are popping up in Universities and “Green” businesses across the nation are highly controversial. Proponents for the ban argue that the water companies are draining area aquifers and selling it back to the citizens with a high environmental impact.
Opponents of the ban question the effectiveness of it, and argue that the government is eliminating a healthy alternative to sugary sodas and beverages. Both have legitimate points, but the discussion shows no signs of resolution mainly due to the fact that the filtration technology cost has reduced to a break-even point and even surfaced as a cheaper alternative than buying individual bottles. The bottled water industry can be likened to the battery industry in that the best option for batteries used to be individually purchased double a’s. However, with the technology of lithium ion, we now charge our own batteries.
The same is true for bottled water. It is now cheaper in most cases to filter your own water rather than pay someone else to sell it to you in bottles. However, while the demand for AA batteries has gone down, the bottled water industry has grown by leaps and bounds. The hope of legilators is bans like the one in Concord will help to change peoples’ habits and correct the dissonance in the demand curve relative to the technology available. The suspicion of bottled water fans is that the ban will only drive up bottled water sales in the surrounding areas. Only time will tell.