State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

NYS agencies phasing out bottled water

On March 10th Ju Young posted an extremely informative entry on bottled water, “Do you still drink bottled water?” The message to cut down on bottled water is still big in advertising, environmental groups, the media, politics, and just about everywhere else. It’s also an ongoing topic of discussion in the Water Center offices.

In early May, New York State Governor David Paterson signed an executive order directing state agencies to stop buying bottled water by May 1, 2010. The order, ‘No 18: Restricting the use of bottled water at state facilities and promoting executive agency sustainability,’ says that agencies will have to make a plan for phasing out bottled water and water coolers and for replacing them with sources of tap water, such as fountains or other dispensers. Environmental reasons are cited, such as the huge amount of energy that goes into production and shipping (which leads to the release of more greenhouse gases), the polluting and unhealthy chemicals that leach from the plastic, and the enormous amount of waste that the bottles add to landfills. The order also gives fiscal responsibility as a justification for the ban on bottled water. I think it will be interesting to see in a year or two how big of an impact this makes. Hopefully other states and governments will follow suit.

Columbia campus skyline with text Columbia Climate School Class Day 2024 - Congratulations Graduates

Congratulations to our Columbia Climate School MA in Climate & Society Class of 2024! Learn about our May 10 Class Day celebration. #ColumbiaClimate2024

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Jennifer Vettel
Jennifer Vettel
14 years ago

This is a huge step in the right direction. Only 1 in 4 water bottles used is recycled, meaning a huge amount are polluting our landfills unnecessarily. By encouraging people to reuse bottles of water, we can help prevent this. Also, for places that still use water bottles or have vending machines for cans or bottles of sodas, it is very important that they provide proper containers for recycling. By simply having access to recycling would encourage people to keep recyclables out of the landfills and reused.

James
James
1 year ago

While this was good in spirit, I still see NYS agencies in the executive branch (NYS courts, CUNY, DMV’s) still buying bottled water with tax levy dollars over a decade later. This EO was not effective.