The New Sin Tax on Water

Today’s USA Today reports on the growing trend among city lawmakers to tax, ban, and otherwise regulate bottled water. CEI recently highlighted the absurdity of these policies in an op-ed article. Since then, lawmakers in the City of Chicago have proposed taxing bottled water ten cents a bottle because supposedly this product is wasteful.

It is true that the bottles use energy to make and transport, but so does every other item in commerce. Singling out of bottle water is simply arbitrary. And bottle water isn’t “wasteful” to the people who chose it. Many of us find it convenient to pick up a chilled, fresh drink of water while on the road. Who would rather carry around refillable bottles with lukewarm water in their car? And who really wants to stop off at gas stations to refill with unchilled water from the tap in public bathrooms? Not me!

The anti-bottled water craze is all the more absurd if you remember that it has long been the green choice because as environmental activists have continually fomented unfounded claims that tap water wasn’t safe. Such environmental activism is, arguably, one of the best things that ever happened to the bottled water industry—until now.

Now the greens are calling on us all to drink tap after running it through water filtering devices. Ka-ching! The water filter industry and its friends in the “refillable containers” industry are apparently very happy! But they had better not get to confortable. Eventually, the greens and tax-hungry politicians will probably go after their “footprint” as well.