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U.S. Conference of Mayors begins its discussion of bottled water

WaterWebster staff report

May 1, 2008

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The U.S. Conference of Mayors today began its discussion of how bottled water contributes to solid waste.

The meeting in New York City was convened as the result of a municipal water resolution the Conference of Mayors adopted at its June, 2007 meeting in Los Angeles titled The Importance of Municipal Water.

Today's session, according to a Conference of Mayors news release, was a joint meeting with the Mayors Water Council and the Municipal Waste Management Association, an environmental affiliate of the Conference.

Presentations also were made by representatives of The American Beverage Association and The International Bottled Water Association on new information on industry efforts to reduce the amount of materials used in plastic water bottles and water conservation in bottled water production processes.

San Francisco, Albuquerque, Minneapolis, Seattle, and other cities have banned the
purchase of single-serve bottled water by their city departments since 2007, citing concerns about the cost of bottled water and its impact on city budgets, as well as and bottled water’s contribution to solid waste.

Other findings, according the the news release, include:
• Even the cheapest bottled water from city retailers and grocery stores can cost from 1,000 to over 4,000 more times per unit volume than municipal tap water (see Table pdf).
• Recycling rates of PET plastic, the petroleum-based material used to produce most water bottles, has declined over the past decade while bottle water consumption has risen considerably.
• While water bottles make up a relatively small proportion of the entire solid waste stream, they amounted to over 827,000 tons of scrap PET in 2006.

The discussion was led by Albuquerque, New Mexico Mayor Martin Chávez and Fayetteville Arkansas, Mayor Dan Coody, co-chairs of the Mayors Water Council and Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, Mayor Don Robart, vice-chair of the Mayors Environment Committee.

To download the full news release and table pdf, click here.

©2008 WaterWebster.org

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