from an article in the
ATLANTA BUSINESS NEWS 4:41 p.m. Friday, July 23, 2010
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The bottled water industry, battered by recession and environmental concerns, is applauding the demise of several initiatives that aimed to stop cities and states from buying the product.
In San Francisco, discussion of banning bottled water from all city events has resulted in no real action, the San Francisco Chronicle reported last week. And Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell nixed a directive from his predecessor that prohibited state agencies from purchasing single-serve bottled water for most official functions and meetings.The attorney general of Massachusetts, citing procedural errors, voided a decision made last spring at an annual town meeting in Concord that would have banned the sale of bottled water within the town.
"It's been a hard year," said Tom Lauria, spokesman for the International Bottled Water Association. "But there are signs that it's turning around. And it can't happen soon enough."
Bottled water sales fell last year as many shoppers switched to tap water to save money. A handful of states -- Illinois, New York, Colorado and until recently Virginia -- have moved to limit bottled water purchases.
A survey by the U.S. Conference of Mayors showed 72 cities have considered eliminating or reducing bottled water purchases within city facilities, while 44 either have formal bans in place or are actively encouraging city officials and departments to use tap water.
Those were ominous signs for companies such as Coca-Cola, parent of Dasani, and PepsiCo, which markets Aquafina.
Environmentalists say bottled water is environmentally unsound because of the amount of plastic it puts into the waste system, and a waste of taxpayer dollars. Leslie Samuelrich, chief of staff at shareholder activist group Corporate Accountability International, decried the Virginia decision. She said it "sends the wrong message about the state’s high quality public water systems – systems the Governor has been entrusted to support and protect."
Lauria said bottled water companies are "just trying to maintain our rightful place in the marketplace."