You are here[New York] State Agencies to Phase Out Use of Bottled Water

[New York] State Agencies to Phase Out Use of Bottled Water

By richard - Posted on 06 May 2009

Sewell Chan, New York Times, May 5, 2009 - The state will no longer purchase single serve water bottles and larger, cooler-sized water bottles for state agencies.

Citing both financial and environmental reasons, Gov. David A. Paterson signed an executive order on Tuesday directing state agencies to phase out the purchase and use of bottled water at government workplaces.

The order will gradually terminate the use of state money for the purchase of single-serve water bottles and larger, cooler-sized water bottles. Each executive agency will have to provide alternative water sources, like ordinary tap water fountains and dispensers.

In June 2007, San Francisco’s mayor, Gavin Newsom, prohibited spending city money on single-serving bottled water. Other jurisdictions have followed suit, according to Corporate Accountability International, an advocacy group that challenges corporate abuses and which runs the Think Outside the Bottle campaign. In June 2008, the New York City Council stopped buying bottled water.

“Taxpayers have spent billions of dollars to ensure that we have clean drinking water supplies,” Mr. Paterson said in a statement. “If we are going to make such significant investments, we should reap the benefits and use that water. Our efforts will serve as an example for local governments, businesses and residents to follow.”

The order also requires the Office of General Services to monitor agency compliance and to identify ways to make tap water available for free at food-service establishments on state facilities, in lieu of purchasing bottled water.

A press release from the governor’s office declared:

Bottled water is wasteful and requires large amounts of energy to bottle and transport. Over 450 million gallons of oil are used to transport water from bottling plants to stores. In the United States, plastic water bottle manufacturing uses 17 million barrels of oil, producing over 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide pollution. Eighty percent of these bottles, which are equal to four billion pounds, end up in garbage incinerators or landfills.

New York has an abundance of tap water for consumption. Three out of four people drink bottled water on a regular basis even though many bottled water products are often just filtered tap water. In addition, for each gallon of water that goes into a plastic bottle, two gallons of water are used to make the plastic bottles and to filter the water.

The governor’s office provided statements in support of the order from State Senator Antoine M. Thompson of Buffalo and Assemblyman Robert K. Sweeney of Suffolk County, who are the chairmen of the Environmental Conservation Committees in their respective chambers; Peter Lehner, executive director of the Natural Resources Defense Council; Barbara Warren, executive director of the Citizens’ Environmental Coalition; Urvashi Rangan, director of technical policy at Consumers Union.