New Haven Considers Giving Up the Bottle

Feb 8, 2011

The state of Connecticut cut its spending on bottled water by 82% last year. Now, the city of New Haven is considering a proposal that would prevent the use of municipal funds to purchase bottled water.  New Haven Alderman Justin Elicker says the city spends about $31,000 a year on large jugs of water delivered to municipal offices. In addition, city schools bought and sold about 30,000 bottles of water to children last year. Elicker is proposing a ban on these purchases except when drinking fountains aren’t available near school cafeterias. Or in the case of an emergency. “If there are 120,000 New Haven residents that are drinking tap water and that tap water Is high quality then it should be good enough for our municipal employees." Elicker says his primary goal is to reduce energy use—both the petroleum in the plastic bottles and the fuel to truck bottles to New Haven. Nestle Waters North America, the biggest bottled water company in the U.S. said in a statement:  “if bottled water is removed as an option, one third of the people will find their way to tap water, but two thirds will replace bottled water with sweetened drinks that use more plastic.” Meanwhile Elicker’s proposal is expected to be discussed at a public hearing later this month. For WNPR, I’m Nancy Cohen.