Water bottle ban called ‘confusing’

  UVM’s war on water — bottled, that is — has caught the attention of the International Bottled Water Association, which has decided to respond with an argument of its own.   One day after the University announced its decision to ban the sale of bottled water on campus effective, January 2013, the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) released a statement saying that the ban fails students, a BevNET article stated.   The IBWA is particularly critical of the University’s mandate that vending machines contain one-third healthy beverages, calling the ban “contradictory and confusing.”   IBWA Vice President of Communications Chris Hogan said he believes that the ban will just prompt students to seek out beverages with higher contents of sugar, caffeine and other additives when they use a vending machine.   “It’s a misguided attempt to deal with a waste issue that would be better addressed through improved recycling rates of all packaged drinks,” he said, according to the BevNET article.   The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has calculated that bottled water containers make up just .03 percent of waste in the U.S., Hogan said.   “Getting rid of bottled water will not make a significant improvement to waste issues,” he said.   Hogan also said that the ban puts a student’s freedom to choose at stake and called the decision a step backward given the growing rates of obesity and diabetes in the U.S., according to the IBWA statement.   Gioia Thompson, director of the UVM Office of Sustainability, said the ban does not fail UVM students and most of the feedback has been supportive.   “You would expect the bottled water association to come out against an action that reduces their sales,” she said. “We’re going to make sure that there are other healthy things to drink in our vending machines.”