Letter: Response to bottle ban at Rossland Secondary

The Canadian Beverage Association would like to recognize the efforts of the Rossland Secondary School students.

Dear Editor

The Canadian Beverage Association (CBA) would like to recognize the efforts of the Rossland Secondary School students on their bottled water outreach.

Like the students, the CBA and our members are committed to responsible environmental stewardship and we have taken great strides over the years to ensure that our products are produced in environmentally sustainable methods. From reducing our industry’s consumption of water during production to using recycled and renewable plastics in packaging, the Canadian beverage industry is doing its part in reducing its environmental footprint.

In response to the article we would like to provide updated information and clarify some key statements made in the story.

The beverage industry fully supports a vibrant municipal water source.  Bottled water in vending machines does not compete with tap water; in fact bottled water competes with other bottled products such as soft drinks and other beverages and offers an excellent hydration choice.

By law, regulations for bottled water are as strong and protective as our provincial regulations for tap water. Quality and safety are a top priority for our members and as a result our members test their water far before production, each hour during production and at the end of production. In addition, bottled water is regulated as a food product by Health Canada through the Food and Drugs Act and the beverage industry facilities are regularly inspected by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Plastic water bottles are 100 per cent recyclable and are recycled at high rates across the country.  In fact, British Columbia has one of the highest recovery rates for beverage containers in North America, with a recovery rate of 80.4  per cent.  Recycled bottles are turned into a variety of useful items including the production of synthetic fibres, fleece, household goods, toys and carpet.

PET, the material used to produce bottles, uses less material, energy and inputs than any other form of packaging. It is produced from petroleum and natural gas by-products and requires a very small amount of energy to produce.

The PET bottles used for bottled water are safe and do not contain BPA or any chemicals that could leach into the product and according to Health Canada, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that the bottles used for bottled water are a health concern.   When looking at re-using the bottles, Health Canada does not recommend the reuse of single-use bottles because the reuse poses a potential microbiological risk if not cleaned properly. For re-usable bottles, Health Canada recommends wide-necked bottles that can be thoroughly washed with hot soapy water between uses.

The beverage industry across Canada has made, and continues to make, substantial progress in reducing their consumption of water.

It currently takes approximately 1.3 litres of spring water for every litre produced, however through the introduction of new equipment and the adoption of new processes our industry hopes to achieve a ratio closer to neutral. This is significantly lower than the water required for a cup of coffee (140 litres) or a cup of tea (35 litres).

We believe that bottled water is a convenient, sustainable and healthy hydration choice for Canadians. If we can help answer any questions or provide further information, please do not hesitate to contact us or visit our website at www.canadianbeverage.ca

Jim Goetz, President

Canadian Beverage Association