Aug 15, 2007

Chicago Mayor Considering Tax on Bottled Water

Chicago’s Mayor Daley has verbally endorsed a proposal by Alderman George Cardenas (12th) to place a tax of up to 25 cents on the cost of every bottle of water sold in the city.

According to the Chicago Sun Times Daley expressed that in terms of money the tax is a good idea, in addition to the fact that there is too much plastic in everyone’s lives.

At a news conference, environment commissioner Suzanne Malec-McKenna told the Chicago Sun Times that she is not worried that a tax would discourage people from drinking water.

Earlier this week, Cardenas brought up the idea of a tax to reduce landfill costs, encourage consumers to drink water from the tap and put a dent in a $217.7 million budget gap.

The International Bottled Water Association responded that this possible tax, which would be the first in the nation, singles out the bottled water industry for a larger problem that is caused a variety of different kinds of packaging. Association President Joseph Doss also fears that it will lead consumers to make a choice that is less healthy.

Bottled water has been under siege from environmentalists across the country. Oil is used to make and transport plastic bottles. Empty bottles fill municipal landfills.

Earlier in the year, both San Francisco and Los Angeles banned non-emergency city purchases of bottled water. Ann Arbor, Mich., later did the same. New York is also working to encourage residents to use tap water and offers customers who boycott water bottles a free stainless steel container.

If a tax were to be imposed, Chicago would stand to make a lot of money. Last year, Illinois ranked No. 7 in the country for bottled water consumption with every resident drinking an average of 21 gallons.