Montreal ponders ban or limit on plastic water bottles

Now that the city of Montreal has decided to ban most plastic bags by 2018, it appears Mayor Denis Coderre is moving on to the next green project – possibly limiting the sale of plastic water bottles.

At Monday's plastic bag ban announcement, the mayor said the city's environment commission will now look into banning or limiting the availability of bottled water.

“What we have to do now is look at multi-use containers, go to a consignment of multi-use containers. The industry will have to provide the consumer with possibly multi-use plastic if that's possible,” he said.

Environmentalists say bottled water companies can be part of the solution if they take the concept of social responsibility seriously.

“Bottled water, the packaging, the single-serve PET bottles, they're 72 per cent of the water bottles out there are recycled and each bottle is 100 per cent recyclable. Plastic beverage containers are not plastic bags. There's a market out there, there's a high demand for those bottles to be recycled into new bottles,” explained Elizabeth Griswold of the Canadian Bottled Water Association.

Environmentalist Daniel Green said it's time to wind back the clock and wean ourselves off the single use plastic bottle.

“What did we do before? Were people dying in the streets of dehydration before plastic bottles?” asked Green, adding that there are rare occasions where bottled water is useful.

“Having said that there always will be a place in an emergency situation to have stockpiles of bottled water (due to the occasional contamination of our water supply,” he said.

Green said he welcomes Mayor Coderre's more environmentally-friendly new direction.

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