Earlier this afternoon, New York’s Gov. David A. Patterson signed an executive order to phase out the purchase of bottled water for state agencies. The agencies have 180 days to develop and implement plans to phase out expenditures for bottled water — both single-use bottles and the larger office jugs — and provide alternative water sources such as ordinary tap water fountains and dispensers.Massachusetts should follow suit.
Why? Well, as Patterson says,
“Taxpayers have spent billions of dollars to ensure that we have clean drinking water supplies,” the governor said in a prepared 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.”But, really, that's just the surface. There are many more reasons. As I said in my email response to my friend,
It's a) the world's most successful marketing scheme and b) supremely destructive and bad policy.If Massachusetts wants to find an easy area to save some money, banning bottled water should be a priority. How many millions would that save, when Massachusetts has some of the best and safest water in the country for free from the tap? The truth is that tap water is more strictly regulated, safer and infinitely cheaper than bottled water. Meanwhile, we allow our water to be sucked out of our public reservoirs and shipped across the country (burning unnecessary fossil fuels in the process). Outrageous!
It amazes me that we allow companies to drain from the freaking Quabbin Reservoir to sell all across the country its water at $1.50 a bottle -- water made less safe by the packaging (and stagnating) process. That $1.50 would pay for far more than a year's worth of drinking water from the tap, which is much more strictly regulated than bottled water and doesn't use water from one area of the country to quench the thirst of 300 million other people.
Bottled water has it's uses -- namely emergencies. Public agencies should keep some supplies in case of hurricanes, earth quakes or toxins, but they should not be putting them in public workplaces. Corporations in Massachusetts should follow suit. This is basic policy that will save money and help educate the public.