In the debate over the sale of bottled water in Concord, lofty environmental ideals seem to be ignoring the simple reality that there are myriad situations when bottled water is a person’s best or preferred beverage choice. Reusable bottles help many people quench their thirst on the go with a lighter environmental footprint. However, it is simply not reasonable or feasible to force every citizen to exclusively operate with reusable bottles.
For example, with the bike and running paths in Concord and surrounding towns, many athletes want to refuel with water rather than sugary “sports” drinks, coffee or soda. I myself have run five marathons and could not imagine training in the early winter months (when bubblers are shut off) without being able to buy a water bottle during my run. Other times people simply forget to bring a reusable bottle, misplace it or have too far to go to lug it with them the whole way.
And what of those who do not live here permanently? Concord is a historical town with a significant amount of tourism. Are we really expecting visitors who have purposefully entered Concord’s town limits to then leave them in search of a bottle of water for the day’s travel? Hydration should not be an obstacle when touring a new place. And when these sightseers drive to neighboring Acton or Bedford, will they then dine there as well? The effects of the ban stretch beyond convenience vs. the environment.
Like tourists, locals will work around a ban and simply drive to surrounding towns to buy their bottled water, spending money outside our town and negating the desired effects of the ban.
Environmentally friendly practices should be encouraged in all forms, but it is not realistic to force citizens to always use a reusable bottle. It can be suggested, but it should not be law. This ban is idealistic and problematic.