I appreciate your recent coverage of the idea for a proposed tax on bottled water in Chicago [“Recycling recycling” posted August 14 by Mike Dumke on the Reader’s Chicago politics blog, Clout City]. While the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) commends Chicago’s desire to promote its municipal water and encourage recycling, any tax on bottled water, as proposed by Alderman Cardenas, is not in the public interest.

Chicagoans deserve choice and should not be discouraged from drinking a safe, healthy, and environmentally friendly beverage. If the debate is about the impact of plastic packaging on the environment, a narrow focus on bottled water spotlights only on a small portion of the packaged beverage category and an even smaller sliver of all packaged products.

The bottled water industry has taken action to reduce the amount of plastic used in their packaging and therefore reduce its environmental footprint. The amount of resin used in the bottled water industry’s lighter-weight plastic containers has been reduced by almost 40 percent over five years. In fact, all consumer goods producers should follow the bottled water industry’s lead in making 100 percent of their containers recyclable to reduce the environmental impact of packaging.

Michael Waxman

Hyde Park Communications

Washington, DC