In NY, it took the promise of money to try to make bottled waters greener

Articles
June 04, 2009

In NY, it took the promise of money to try to make bottled waters greener

This recession did to the bottled water industry what environmentalists couldn’t accomplish for years. Now that people seem to remember that tap water is free, or that pitcher and filter systems on sinks are more economical, and they could save money by using them instead, along comes another one-two punch to the neck. First came the New York State bill that would have required a nickel deposit on each water bottle, and required stores to accept the bottles for recycling as of June 1. This is on hold since a United States District Court Judge ruled that a lawsuit from bottled-water manufacturers would first have to be resolved. The parties will air out their differences on details of the Bottle Bill, including those that relate to selling bottles only within the state, adding a New York-only bar code, and the implementation date. The state’s goal was dual: to expand recycling to include bottled water, tea and juice alongside carbonated beverages; and to capture money from unclaimed deposits which bottlers have been pocketing for years. It took a fiscal crisis to get a much-needed environmental law adjustment on the books, and to that SupermarketGuru.com says, ‘ok, whatever it takes.’

This recession did to the bottled water industry what environmentalists couldn’t accomplish for years.  Now that people seem to remember that tap water is free, or that pitcher and filter systems on sinks are more economical, and they could save money by using them instead, along comes another one-two punch to the neck.

First came the New York State bill that would have required a nickel deposit on each water bottle, and required stores to accept the bottles for recycling as of June 1.  This is on hold since a United States District Court Judge ruled that a lawsuit from bottled-water manufacturers would first have to be resolved.

The parties will air out their differences on details of the Bottle Bill, including those that relate to selling bottles only within the state, adding a New York-only bar code, and the implementation date.

The state’s goal was dual: to expand recycling to include bottled water, tea and juice alongside carbonated beverages; and to capture money from unclaimed deposits which bottlers have been pocketing for years. It took a fiscal crisis to get a much-needed environmental law adjustment on the books, and to that SupermarketGuru.com says, ‘ok, whatever it takes.’

Our position is that bottled water may be convenient, but it’s a waste of money, energy and resources. With some brands outed through the years as having been derived from public water sources—and with the more recent perversion of a bottled water brand that touts its source is NYC tap water—the idea is finally dawning on people, ‘why pay.’

Moreover, the bottles stress the environment. Why shouldn’t they be part of the recycling effort, not only in New York, but throughout the country?

A second less-publicized punch came last week in the form of tougher FDA standards on bottled water manufacturers. Effective December 1, they’ll be forced to test source water for germs each week, as they already need to do for finished products.  If E.coli shows up, the manufacturer must eliminate the bacteria, explain their elimination process in writing, and then retest the water.

Manufacturers will also need to test source water for coliforms, and if found then test for fecal contamination. These tests are already required for the finished bottled-water product.