Dear Selectman Lawson,
We are four boys from The Fenn School down the road from Concord Center. We frequent the town center and love spending time there, except we cannot purchase bottled water. The bottled water ban should be repealed because it is causing Concord residents to drive into other towns to buy bottled water. Unhealthy drinks have not been banned which is forcing more people to buy soda and other readily available unhealthy drinks. Unfortunately the water that can be purchased is awkward to carry. It also causes people to waste drinking water that they don't drink because there are only large amounts of water sold. Another burden on the economy, is that water in other containers (mainly glass) is very expensive. When Concord residents, every week go into other towns and buy water there, they not only are taking money away from the local Concord economy, they are emitting greenhouse gasses in order to get the bottled water. This is causing the problem the ban was supposed to fix. With obesity a growing problem, the last thing we need is to exasperate it by encouraging unhealthy drinks to be consumed while condemning healthy pure water. When someone buys bottled water, it is because they want it to be portable and to be able to quench a slight thirst and these massive bottles . I hope you sponsor our bill or make a bill to repeal the bottled water ban and continue to support the environment.
A problem the ban has caused is Concord residents are forced to commute to other towns so we are able to buy plastic bottles for sports and other occasions. Many of the citizens enjoyed being able to buy a cases of water and have a bottle handy at any moment. One example is my family, we have to travel to a grocery store 20 minutes away to get our water instead of making the quick trip to the local Crosby's in Concord. This also hurts the environment because of all the greenhouse gasses given off in a longer commute. Another effect of buying bottled water in other towns is, the money we're spending on the water could be going to the Concord economy, but instead it's going to other towns in the Concord area.
In Massachusetts, along with the rest of the United States, obesity is a problem for many of the citizens. In the U.S. two in three adults are overweight or obese. As a growing problem it needs to be addressed. One main cause of obesity is drinking unhealthy sodas or energy drinks. With the ban of small sized plastic water bottles, kids in town are almost forced to buy unhealthy drinks. For example, on Tuesdays, Fenn dismisses at 12:45 without giving kids lunch. Many kids like to walk or take the quick ride into the town center for some pizza and dessert. When we go into a place like Comella's or Sorrento's (supporting our local economy), we order our pizza and want a nice, refreshing drink to have with it. If you want a drink which you can carry around with you after you are finished with your meal, water is not an option because there are no bottles that are an acceptable size. I know that Sorrento's offers a pitcher with some cups, but it is unsatisfactory to keep on getting up to go to across the room to where the water is located, and refilling your cup, so that you can quench your thirst with a whopping two ounces. Kids, and even adults will go for the much simpler choice of grabbing a soda, Gatorade or an energy drink. If you have those drinks every once in a while, they are not too bad, but the constant drinking of them is extremely unhealthy and can lead to many more health problems besides obesity. It is too much of a waste to purchase large bottles of water or to have the small cups that only few places offer. We need the much healthier choice of water back into the restaurants, markets and stores.
The ban in Concord has created another problem, specifically with the new bottles. A big number of stores in Concord are selling a new type of water bottle made by the company Voss. These bottles are made out of glass, and have many problems. These bottles are much bigger and bulkier, made out of a harder material, yet the material breaks easily when hit or dropped, and still has a thick plastic top. Another problem is that the bottles cost much more than the plastic ones, and when given the choice between the glass, bulky, expensive, water bottle, and the cheap soda, people choose the easiest and cheapest option. This is one of the biggest problems. We believe that a new water bottle should be instituted to the restaurant or another idea. The ban itself has many issues that have to be worked out, and I think that it should be looked more into.
We urge you to repeal the ban. The bottled water ban should be repealed because it is causing Concord residents to drive to other towns to buy bottled water, unhealthy drinks are now the standard beverage, and the water that can be purchased is awkward to carry and causes people to waste drinking water. The bottled water should be repealed and we hope you attempt to pass new legislation, assist us in our efforts to make this an issue at the next town meeting, and/or help us revise our bill. Thank you for your time.
Our current suggested bill is as follows:
To determine whether the Town will vote to repeal in its entirety the bylaw known as the "Sale Of Drinking Water In Single-Serve PET Bottles Bylaw" passed under Article 32 on April 25, 2012 at the Annual Town Meeting and approved by the Attorney General on September 5, 2012, or take any other action relative thereto.
William Locke, Lucas Lisman, Nolan Moore, and Callan Fries