Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What will they think of next?

Environmentalists launch attack on bottled water:

The Competitive Enterprise Institute says bottled water is fast becoming the new "sin" industry.

Several American cities have passed or are considering bans on bottled water. Lawmakers locally and nationally are also considering levying heavy taxes on bottled water. But the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) is fighting back by launching a petition campaign and a YouTube video that asks the question "What's stupid about bottled water?"

CEI's director of risk and environmental policy Angela Logomasini explains why bottled water is getting such negative press. "They say it makes too much landfill space, has too big of a carbon footprint and things of that nature," she contends. "They also say it's the same as tap water, which we argue and I've shown in a research study that I did that it's simply not the case."

Logomasini adds that bottled water has become the new "sin" industry and she sites efforts to impose a so-called sin tax on bottled water, such as the one in Chicago.

Angela Logomasini (CEI)"They tax it a nickel per bottle. So if you buy a case, it's a 30-percent tax on the entire case because each bottle in the case is taxed," she notes. "Toronto has banned it in government buildings. Salt Lake City banned it in government buildings, or at least banned government purchases, including for firefighters."

According to Logomasini, Chicago had a budget shortfall, so they saw bottled water as an "easy whipping boy" and imposed the tax. She contends that bottled water regulations are the latest effort in the ultimate "nanny-state" government and wonders what industry will be targeted next.

More information on the benefits of bottled water and a petition to stop government intrusion on the industry can be found at

Note from Lucy: I know that it is better to drink water from a glass bottle, but I do drink a lot of my water from plastic bottles.. I know that it takes up space in the trash dumps, but I recycle my plastic... The gallon bottles are cut down with a special pair of scissors and the smaller bottles are crushed and put into the recycle bin. Since I have been recycling, we have cut down on the amount of trash that goes out into the garbage.

Here's the question: Do you think they should tax us for drinking bottled water?


At 9:39 PM, Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

If drinking bottled water is my only sin, then I will feel pretty good about my life.
Ooops! Too late. I've sinned in other ways.
Can you imagine someone coming up and preaching about the SIN of drinking bottled water?
REPENT from thine evil ways and vow to NEVER drink it again!!!
I buy water in gallons usually, so I don't drink bottled water much. I hope I can still get into heaven. I know those plastic water jugs take up room in landfills too, also. Maybe I ought to just go down to the creek and drink from now on.

At 6:35 AM, Blogger Sherpa said...

Bottled water is ridiculous. Why is the US spending billions a year for a product that we don't need? Tap water is just as good for you, and doesn't come with wasteful packaging.

At 7:21 AM, Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Sherpa, if you were to drink from my water faucet, you might get sick. I don't like drinking things that wave at you from the glass. Wasteful packaging? I guess you are going to have to throw out your catsup, mustard, milk, yogurt and egg containers then. I don't like the plastic containers either, but I doubt that the country will go back to using glass containers.

At 8:08 AM, Blogger Sherpa said...

Lucy, water from the tap is safe. We don't live in a 3rd world country. There's nothing wrong with tap water. As far as the packaging goes-bottled water is frivoulous-and the packaging contributes pounds of waste to already overloaded dumps.

Wasteful packaging? I guess you are going to have to throw out your catsup, mustard, milk, yogurt and egg containers then.
I never said that. That's a straw man point. We're talking bottled water, a product that's completely frivolous. Bottled water is not safer than tap water.

At 8:43 AM, Blogger Big Dave T said...

Cash-strapped governments are trying to find more reasons and ways to tax people. I laughed at the NY idea of a stiff tax on those who drink soda, like Coke.

Coming from Michigan, I believe that any bottle should carry a deposit on it. We have almost eliminated the problem of bottles as litter because so many people collect them and turn them in for the deposit. But water in plastic bottles are exempt from the deposit so you do find them littering parks, roadways and waterways too. Personally, I get my water from the tap though I know some communities that have bad-tasting water (I hate well water myself--could never drink that).

At 10:23 AM, Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Sherpa, Bottled water is a convince for many people. Firemen use them to rehydrate at a fire, people who travel use them to have water handy when they are not near a water fountain, students carry them in their backpacks, etc. Now the fact that many people just toss the empty bottles in the trash and don't recycle them is a different matter.

We do not live in a third world country, but not all water is safe. We haven't been able to use the water in our house in 16 years... I buy gallon sized bottle water from Wall Mart for drinking water at home...I also recycle each and every container.

They are putting mayonnaise in plastic jars now, instead of glass. At least the glass ones I could use for canning.... I hate the plastic mayo bottles.

Dave - I am in agreement on deposits on bottles. I remember paying deposits on coke bottles when I was a kid. Dad would buy a 12 pack, pay his deposit and then we would be all excited about taking the bottles back for money ... I don't agree on taxing each and every bottle and then still letting people throw them in dumps. Who is going to get this tax money and what are they going to do with it? How is this going to help the environment?

At 11:06 AM, Blogger Big Dave T said...

Maybe they figure if they make the tax high enough, people will stop buying bottled water. It's the same reasoning behind the high tax on tobacco products (not that I agree with the reasoning though).

But hea, speaking of governments gone wild, I heard on the news last night about something in your own backyard there. Something about the Houston city council wanting to pass a measure for city government to pay people's credit card bills if they were to buy a house?! Tell me that ain't so.

At 12:08 PM, Blogger Mountain Mama said...

All the overpaid Chicago politicians should make up the budget shortfall.

Plastic is a problem not only in our landfills but I believe it's unhealthy.
I think glass is the way to go but try and tell the manufacturer's that.
Plastic is convenient and saves them bucks.

At 1:27 PM, Blogger The probligo said...

Lucy, I am a very lucky man. I live in a country where the general run-of-the-mill tap water is not only fresh and usually potable, it is invariably clean. That is the result of government health laws requiring treatment of all publicly supplied water - treatment including alum precipitation to remove unwanted chemicals, sand filtration to remove most everything else and anti-bacterial chlorine treatment. Testing is done regularly (twice a month in the major cities) to ensure that treatment is effective and that there is no post-treatment contamination.

But, still we have people who insist that they can drink only bottled water. Still we have people who insist that the only "safe" water is filtered at the bench or tap.

Cheers! (with a glass of chilled tap water. Mmmm that tastes nice!

At 2:11 PM, Blogger T. F. Stern said...

Whether or not you like the taste of the tap water in your area, feel good about the safety standards implemented to supply that tap water or just like the taste of bottled water is irrelevant; individuals have every right to chose for themselves without having some city council person taxing the real or imagined sin. Myself, living here in the Houston area, I happen to drink bottled water; either water bought in gallon jugs or in individual containers. I like the taste of the brands we purchase over some others that are available. I won’t drink the water that comes out of the tap, regardless of how safe and purified the local MUD folks claim it is; when I look into a glass full of tap water I don’t like seeing critters waving back at me; perhaps a mild exaggeration, you get my drift.

There are proven ways to recycle most waste, to include plastic bottles, in such a way as to minimize their build up in land fills. We happen to agree with certain aspects of recycling, cutting up our plastic waste so it can be easily converted and used over and over. We do the same with empty soda cans, newspapers and cardboard boxes and even spent brass keys are stored for recycling. There’s a place not far from us where they actually pay us for the crushed up soda cans and loose brass, enough to justify the trip; as far as the plastic trash and newspapers, we do that out of respect for the principles involved in being good citizens and make no money from our extra efforts to “do the right thing”.

I feel no guilt for being a consumer of products, items I can afford without having to dip into my neighbor’s wallet via local or other forms of tax, and being made available by virtue of my own productivity, all which used to be associated with a free market society. If I want to eat a Big Mac, fries and a cola that’s my business; there are folks in government who would tax me for destroying my cholesterol levels, making it more likely to require extended medical treatment, being a burden to an otherwise healthy society; but it’s none of their business, at least not as long as I have anything to say about such abuses to the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness mentioned in our founding documents. ( Now you may have figured out why my blog site is called, tfsternsrantings; I tend to get into it when making a statement.)

There are many who would alter the foundations of such a free market society, giving bonus money for “so called” environmentally friendly automobiles, regardless of the ability to justify the term environmentally friendly. For example, the hoped for clean air cars which will run on electricity, plug them in at night; that electricity is produced with fossil fuels and the loss of productive power from the original burning of fossil fuels compared with the so called clean use of an electrical vehicle is nominal to an out right exaggeration hedging on prevarication.

In summation, don’t tell me the tax on bottled water is justified when it violates the free market system as applies to perfectly lawful expressions on consumption and for darn sure don’t step on my foot and tell me we’re dancing.

At 5:35 PM, Blogger The probligo said...

I would have thought that the same money and effort would be far better spent in removing those little critturs that wave at you from your glass of water.

Oh well...

I have to admit that (some 20-odd years back I was introduced to "Pukekohe water". Pukekohe is a rural support town (pop some 25,000) about 60km southeast of Auckland and its water supply at that time was from deep wells. It was toward the end of a long and very dry summer and the water-table level was particularly low. Now, while there were no critturs in my glass, the taste did leave a great amount to be desired.

Tax on bottled water? What tax do you pay on other food items? Is bottled water any different? We have a universal 12.5% tax on all goods and services. No exceptions other than financial transactions (so you dont get taxed on your mortgage repayments for example).

At 7:20 PM, Blogger SusieQ said...

I buy bottled water, but we do not use it exclusively. Sometimes we drink from the tap, but bottled water tastes better than what comes out of our tap. Plus, it is handy. I always have a small bottle of water in my purse to soothe those annoying little tickles I get in my throat now and then when I am out and about.

It really amounts to a matter of preference. I prefer bottled water over tap water.

I don't think a government body should be given carte blanche to tax whatever they please.

At 9:02 PM, Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Big Dave - I know that the government was happy when gas was around $ 4.00 a gallon...Now they are unhappy because gas has gone down so much that they want to raise taxes on it because they say they aren't making enough money off of it.
They don't mind the sin taxes either until the "sinning" stops...

That was a total embarrassment to our city with the mayor and city counsel trying to pull that one off. The mayor quickly pulled it off the table when the city went ballistic and cried foul...

Mountain Mama - I'm with you on this one....I wish they would bring glass back too.

Problico - you have no idea what chemicals the city is putting in it's water to "purify" it... I read an article just yesterday, saying the fluoride and chlorine is dangerous to the human body... I am really glad that your tap water is fit to drink...

TF Stern - yes dear, I agree.

Problico - Food that is purchased in grocery stores is not taxed in the United States.... If you go to a cafe to eat, then you pay taxes on food.

SusieQ - I like having a bottle of water tucked away in my purse too. You are also right about the government being in every aspect of our lives.

At 6:18 AM, Blogger Cliff said...

Hey Lucy, don't bring this up again or TF will officially take over your blog. :) I agree with him however.
I'm perfect. I drink my water from our own R.O. system. Now if I can figure out who will take the old system after it broke down. AND the filters I need to find a home for. Wait,, I've got a log in my eye so must sign off.
Let's try to get a ban going for toilet paper. That should get more support. But it could wipe out a lot of businesses.

At 8:19 AM, Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Cliff - I hate to tell you this but Cheryl Crow has already tried to ban how much toilet paper we use....She think we should use only one square per potty break....I don't know about you, but one square won't cut it with me...... YEK!

At 8:22 AM, Blogger T. F. Stern said...

Lucy has been having far too many chances to laugh while going through the comment section, thanks for all who have contributed this time.

Cliff, try to behave...oh, and make sure you wash those hands before you eat. yuk.

At 11:52 AM, Blogger Rachel said...

I like the taste of bottled water better. I do drink tap water sometimes and I bought the water pitcher with the filter, and use that mostly for my drinking water. I buy some water to take with me in the plastic bottles, but I don't buy a lot of it, and I do recycle them.

I hadn't heard of anyone trying to tax it. I don't think they need to tax bottled water, for Pete's sake!

As for my church signs, yes, I do take real pictures, but occasionally I will generate one when I haven't had a chance to download my pictures yet, and when I do that I make note of it so folks will know it's a generated one and not a real one.

I need for you to e-mail me your address again. I seem to have lost it!

At 7:59 AM, Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

That is ALL I drink. And ALL the Bottles are recycled ao that they do not go into landfills. If taxing the bottles will make people think more carefully about just tossing as opposed to recycling, Well...I'm for it. I AM NOT FOR BANNING BOTTLED WATER ALL TOGETHER. RECYCLING is what should be stressed more.

At 10:32 AM, Blogger Marla said...

I drink bottled water all the time. Our water has to many floaties in it. I don't know what they are but they don't look very tasty to me. I am going to keep drinking my bottled water. I am with Rachel it tastes better!

At 3:59 PM, Blogger Jess said...

Well they tax everything else... might as well..

Not that I'm happy about it though!

And your comment about not seeing my parents in our scrapbook...well we have thought about it, but if i put my parents in, then I would have to pu this parents in...then aunts, grannies, cousins...and well, we wanted it to be about he and I and our relationship.. just about me and him....and then Emmy came it's just about us three right now...

who knows i might do one on each side of the for Jason's side and one for mine...

Lots of love to you and have a great new week


At 9:06 PM, Blogger Jim said...

I think bottle water is the most stupid drink ever. The only exception is where the water is unsafe to drink.
Houston's water ranks in the top ten in the U.S. for purity, it can be bottled and sold. There was talk of that for a while.

My idea is to outlaw or put a heavy sin tax on bottled water. This will do away with jobs. So the money saved could be used for useful services which could be subsidized by the taxes and/or savings with the less bottled water.

Two services come to mind:
1. Elevator operators. Remember when we had someone nice to chat with as we went up and down?
2. Eliminate self service gas pumping. We could have our fluids checked, windshields cleaned, tires checked, floors vacuumed, and ashtrays emptied (I don't smoke).
3. I am sure there are a lot of other pleasant items we had back in the old days. How about soda fountains? Or street cars?

The second suggestion would pay for itself. Obama could kick start these with his stimulous program and return the savings back to the economy.

At 7:37 AM, Blogger Sherpa said...

I see potable tap water as a common good. Why? Because the alternative is diptheria and other water-borne illnesses that make life uncommonly unpleasant not to mention other reasons potable, safe tap water should be a common good. Bottled water is a luxury, not a staple of life. And yes, it should be taxed if that tax money goes straight into the maintenance and improvement of local city water systems.

At 7:58 AM, Blogger Sherpa said...

Sherpa, Bottled water is a convience for many people.
Yes, I'd agree with you there. It is a convience product.

Firemen use them to rehydrate at a fire,
Do they, I thought they used the tanks on their engines, but they may use them to rehydrate.

People who travel use them to have water handy when they are not near a water fountain, students carry them in their backpacks, etc.
Whenever I travel I do carry a waterbottle. I also have one next to me right now, and almost always carry a waterbottle. However the plastic used in many individual water bottles is not safe for re-use-- so I carry nalgene bottles-that only cost me 5 bucks-they are safe for re-use, and I've had several of mine for more than five years. Two I've had for over 10 years.

Now the fact that many people just toss the empty bottles in the trash and don't recycle them is a different matter.
No, its not.

We do not live in a third world country, but not all water is safe. We haven't been able to use the water in our house in 16 years...
I'm not saying it is. As a kid we had to boil our water many months at a time. I'm currently drinking bottled water because the water in my work-building isn't safe. But the water comes from glass 5 gallon water bottles. That being said, the vast majority of water in the US is safe, and does go by much more stringent restrictions than bottled water. The marketing ploy of beverages companies that bottled water is safer than tap water is one of the biggest marketing ploys ever-it's right up there with the marketing ploys of cigarettes in the 1900's-1960.

I buy gallon sized bottle water from Wall Mart for drinking water at home...I also recycle each and every container.
That's cool. I'm not one to say how you should get your water. You got to do what you have to do.

They are putting mayonnaise in plastic jars now, instead of glass. At least the glass ones I could use for canning.... I hate the plastic mayo bottles. Yeah, I'm not a fan of all the products that've gone plastic either.

At 10:06 AM, Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Rachel - I love your church signs one way or the other...I miss them when you don't post them. I like bottled water too and will continue to drink it. The water treatments here are not very good and they put too much Flouride in the water.

Naomi - I totally agree with you on this one.

Marla - I will continue drinking my bottled water too..

Jessica - I think it would be nice to make a photo album of you with your family and one with Jason and his family...Of course Miss Emily will have to be in both

Jim - I used to think bottled was was stupid too, until I started drinking it. I am cheap, by nature and didn't like buying the bottled water, but when you water at the house started tasting so bad, I changed my mind. I have even tried filters on the faucet and didn't like them.

Sherpa - There is not much I can say to change your mind, so lets agree to disagree.

At 4:37 PM, Blogger Tigersue said...

I don't drink a great deal of bottled water, we have a filter in our fridge and that seems to be fine.

I think it would be silly to tax bottled water as there are many reasons people use bottled water.

In SLC you can not find bottled water anywhere! perhaps in grocery stores, (I don't know if they could ban that) but restraunts, deli's and other food establishments can't sell any bottled water. If you plan to travel to downtown SLC take your own water, as the blocks are long, and no water to be found, unless you care to risk drinking out of a drinking fountain.

At 4:32 PM, Anonymous Angela Logomasini said...


Thanks for covering my report on bottled water. I appreciate your insights offered here as well. You readers can fine out more if they check out our website at enjoybottlewater dot org.

-Angela Logomasini, CEI.


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