Sudbury Businesses Work to Stay Afloat After Bottled Water Ban

Those who are thirsty in Sudbury, Massachusetts, will no longer find water in a bottle. The town’s ban on bottled water went into effect this summer and some say it is already having an effect on businesses.

The town voted to approve the bylaw and the hope is that more people choose to drink from something reusable. However, those who saw the water as profitable say they are being forced to think outside the box.

Dan Kenn, the owner of Sudbury Coffee Works, is now selling spring water from a jug on the counter. Customers can get a discount if they bring their own container.

“It’s something better than nothing at least,” Kenn said. “It definitely hurts not having the bottles because it was the highest profit beverage.”

At the Mobil gas station around the corner, they have bottled up their frustrations and are now selling it in boxes.

“When I show them the boxes, they are confused,” manager Asaad Salman said. “And the boxed water is more expensive.”

Salman said his water sales have gone down 50 percent since the ban, with some of his customers going out of town just to buy it in a bottle.

Sudbury’s director of public health Bill Murphy said complaints have not been pouring in and for the most part, the feedback has been positive. He said he does hope the challenges for businesses are temporary.

“I think right now in the short term people will go out and get it in other places, but over time you will see more and more towns jump on board,” Murphy said.

Murphy and his team are busy handing out reusable water bottles that can be filled up for free at any location on the Sudbury Tap Map that can be found on the town's website.

Sudbury Coffee Works is one of the businesses on the tap map and the owner said they will do what it takes to stay afloat.

“It’s not that we are anti-environment because we’re not,” Kenn said. “I’m just trying to put my kids through college, that’s all.”

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