Hospitality and industry, against free tap water: serving jugs is “giving a job” and promoting public sources “incomprehensible”

The preliminary draft of the Law on Waste and Contaminated Soils, presented last week by the Minister for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge Teresa Ribera, has opened a new confrontation between the hospitality industry, the food industry and the Government.

In order to reduce the consumption of packaging, the future law specifies that bars and restaurants must offer their customers the possibility of consuming non-bottled water free of charge, provided that its healthiness is guaranteed. In addition, many other measures are proposed to reduce the consumption of bottled water, including the prohibition of its sale in public administrations.

The measures did not please the hoteliers and, of course, the mineral water sector.

"I do not know of any case in which someone is forced to give away their work, of course," he explains to Direct to the Palate José Luis Yzuel president of Hospitality of Spain. “Another thing is to recommend, suggest, raise awareness… But forcing free water to be served is a bit strong. We are going to oppose it. ”

"The costs are not only in the product that you serve, but also in the added costs", assure the hoteliers

In Yzuel's opinion, society should be aware that offering tap water is also a service, which has its costs: “The costs are not only in the product you serve, but also in the added costs. You have to have a jug, you have to scrub it; you have to have some glasses that you have to buy, transport and scrub; and a waiter who serves it to you and takes it from you ”.

Nor does he believe that all tap water can be served to consumers, even though its healthiness is guaranteed: “The water that comes out of the tap always complies with the regulations, but if you have eggs you drink it. I am not telling you what water tastes like in Zaragoza when it is taken from the Imperial Canal. ”

Yzuel assures that his federation, majority in the hospitality industry, will present allegations to the draft law, which is still in the public consultation phase and has a parliamentary process ahead that is expected to be long.

Criticism among water bottlers too

The employers of the mineral water sector have also been positioned against certain measures of the preliminary draft law.

The National Association of Bottled Drinking Water Companies (Aneabe) has stated in a statement that “any action aimed at limiting or avoiding the sale of bottled water in single-use containers is a comparative grievance with respect to other beverages that do not have its marketing in single-use containers is limited, putting the mineral water sector at a competitive disadvantage ”.

Aneabe also ensures that the law helps to trivialize the concept of mineral water and creates confusion about its "differentiating qualities" with respect to tap water.

According to mineral water manufacturers "in the current context of the covid-19 crisis, the promotion of public sources is incomprehensible"

If the problem is plastics, concludes the employers, the sector has already carried out advanced work: “Mineral water companies have been working for many years in the same spirit as the future Law on Waste and Contaminated Soils. In fact, all the containers used by the sector are 100% recyclable and more than 90% of plastic bottles are currently recycled in Spain ”.

The sector is also concerned that the draft bill encourages the use of public sources: “In the current context of the covid-19 crisis, it is incomprehensible and highly worrisome to promote public sources that the draft seeks, given that they can be a vector of infections due to their high risk of microbial contamination. ”

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