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February 27, 2022

The Water Bottle Ban: Continued

By Jason Buckland, Sympatico / MSN Finance

Thought it might be a good idea this morning to continue the debate on the ever-growing water bottle ban after we received a ton of great feedback on yesterday’s post. Thanks to everyone who wrote in.

A lot of people wondered why the harassment was against only bottled water, when presumably that would leave plastic bottles of Coke, Pepsi and Gatorade as the unhealthy alternative.

That initially was the case, but it’s not likely to stay that way.

When Niagara Falls, the latest municipality to ban the plastic water bottle from city-owned facilities, voted on the issue this week, it moved the initiative along beyond what we’ve seen any other Canadian region do yet.

“City councillors took it a step further Monday night, scrapping the sale of all beverages in plastic bottles,” the article reads. “Including soda pop, juice and energy drinks like Gatorade.”

This was a pretty big deal that shocked all the parties involved, including the proponents of the bottle ban who never thought it would get that far so quick.

So while the all-bottle-ban trend is likely to continue (it’s now looking more and more like the ban is against plastic bottles, not a crusade against bottled water like has been suggested), there’s no word yet on whether plastic bottles of products like dish detergent, shampoo or Windex will be outlawed or not.

A lot of readers speculated about the safety of municipal tap water, which would be a near-impossible concern to address in this forum. Everyone remembers the Walkerton tragedy of 2000, but I thought this report ABC’s “20/20” did a few years back in the U.S. was worth mentioning:

“’20/20’ took five bottles of national brands of bottled water and a sample of tap water from a drinking fountain in the middle of New York City and sent them to microbiologist Aaron Margolin of the University of New Hampshire to test for bacteria that can make you sick, like e. coli.

‘There was actually no difference between the New York City tap water and the bottled waters that we evaluated,’ he said.

Many scientists have run tests like that and have consistently found that tap water is as good for you as bottled waters that cost 500 times more.”

Don’t think we’re suggesting this speaks for every city or town’s water supply across the country, because we’re not. Every place is going to be different, especially the safety and treatment of your local water. It is an intriguing report, though, at the very least.

Also, some readers wondered if there would be access to more water fountains at these city-owned facilities where plastic bottles were being removed. Turns out, the Niagara Falls recommendation called for more fountains to be installed – at the taxpayer tag of $5,000 each, no less – where people can refill their own reusable bottles for free.

Finally, we haven’t even broached the subject of personal taste, which is sure to be a main catalyst in all the rage against the bottle ban. Being urged to drink your tap water is one thing for people who don’t mind its taste, it’s an entirely different matter for those who long for a cold, crisp Dasani. Of course, where does this leave our rural friends or those in homes with sulphur water to drink, which is the rough equivalent of squeezing the grease from an Egg McMuffin into a glass and swishing it around in your mouth? What are they to do?

The discussion continues …



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...