New York is banning the purchase of bottled water in the name of saving money and landfill space.  The ban covers single bottles and the five-gallon jugs used for coolers.

But will it do either of those things? OpenMarket.org says no:

New York lawmakers are promising more than they can deliver. At least some of the water found in government agencies is delivered in large five-gallon plastic bottles, few of which ever enter the landfill. These bottles are reused on average, 35 to 50 times or more. Once these bottles are retired, they are recycled. They actually represent a private-sector environmental/recycling success story. Banning them in government agencies won’t save landfill space.

The replacement products—which demand the use of filters—will send waste to the landfill. It should also be noted that the water filtering devices require regular maintenance and repairs. And failure to change filters can produce quality problems with tap water too.

Finally, it is silly to claim that banning government purchases of them would matter significantly in terms of solid waste. Plastic water bottles amount to a measly 0.3 percent of trash nationally. In fact, absent bottled water as an option, many workers will likely bring their own or drink other bottled drinks. In fact, much of the increase in bottled water consumption over the past decades has replaced drinking of sugared or caffeine-containing drinks rather than tap water.

As usual, another feel-good gesture turns out to do more harm than good.  Don’t politicians ever think things through?  Help them enlighten themselves by signing a petition here.

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