To the editor:
I am writing in opposition to Article 41 of the March 25 Town Meeting Warrant, the proposed ban on the sale of water in non-reusable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles of one liter or less.
I have lived in Lincoln for more than 35 years. My family owns the two new restaurants in town, Trail’s End Café and Lincoln Kitchen. In Concord, we own another restaurant, Trail’s End Café, as well as Concord Convenience, a gas station/convenience store.
Concord’s ban on selling bottled water in such plastic containers of 1 liter or less has affected us negatively in a number of ways, while doing nothing to decrease the consumption of bottled water. Those who formerly bought bottled water from us in Concord include, among others, bikers, landscapers, snow plowers, tradesmen, town of Concord employees, those hosting workshops and meetings, families not wanting their children to drink carbonated and sugared beverages, and people who take medication in the course of the day. People have not stopped buying bottled water, but have gone elsewhere to get it. In addition to water, our customers once bought snacks, breakfast and lunch, gas, and convenience store products. These sales have declined. I expect that businesses in Lincoln, including ours, will suffer a similar decline in sales. This is particularly worrisome in a town that values a vibrant business district, but has a small potential customer base.
It is naïve to expect that customers will continue to do the rest of their shopping in a town that forbids a product they find essential. It is also naïve to expect that those wanting water will search out and use a public drinking fountain. In fact, I find such fountains to be unsanitary and would never allow my children to use them. Carrying around a plastic water bottle and refilling it from a public fountain or public bathroom also holds little appeal.
It is a mistake to demonize bottled water, a clean, healthy, and convenient product. The problem is a larger one, the disposal of recyclable materials into the overall waste stream. And this problem is solvable, without a water ban.
Our family is very mindful of environmental protection and carries our concerns into our business practices. We use biodegradable packaging; publicize, participate, and volunteer in recycling events; and, in Concord, have several recycling dumpsters. While I admire the Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School Environmental Club for its activism, I believe that its energy can be used more productively in encouraging recycling and making sure that recycling containers are available wherever people congregate, eat, and drink healthy beverages, such as water.
38 Bedford Rd.
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