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Bottled water ban ineffective, counterproductive, says study

Bottled water ban ineffective, counterproductive, says study

An examination of the ban at the University of Vermont finds counterproductive results.

A study of the bottled water ban at the University of Vermont found "per capita shipments of bottles, calories, sugars and added sugars increased significantly once bottled water was removed." Meanwhile, "shipments of healthy beverages declined significantly whereas shipments of less healthy beverages increased significantly. As bottled water sales dropped to zero, sales of sugar-free beverages and sugar-sweetened beverages increased," according to the conclusion in the study abstract published in the American Journal of Public Health.

The goal of the study was to investigate "how the removal of bottled water along with a minimum healthy beverage requirement affected the purchasing behavior, healthiness of beverage choices, and consumption of calories and added sugars of university campus consumers." It used the last semester (spring 2012) before a 30 percent healthy beverage ratio was enacted on the campus as the baseline. The 30 percent ratio became effective that fall and bottled water was banned from campus sale in spring 2013.

The study conclusion, per the abstract: "The bottled water ban did not reduce the number of bottles entering the waste stream from the university campus, the ultimate goal of the ban. With the removal of bottled water, consumers increased their consumption of less healthy bottled beverages."

Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]

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