Water Bottle Ban?

By: Philip Stewart Email
By: Philip Stewart Email

August 15, 2007

The mayor of Charlottesville is talking about a ban on water bottles in city buildings. It could be a way to cut down on trash, and save energy.

"It takes a lot of energy to make the bottles," said Mayor David Brown. "Very few of the bottles are recycled and it sure costs a lot of energy to move water. It's heavy stuff."

That's why Brown is starting a discussion about a potential water bottle ban in Charlottesville, based on the idea that the city would set an example for the rest of the community.

"If the city started using less plastic water bottles, and banned them, maybe other people would start thinking about (how) maybe they should refill a container of water instead of buying plastic bottles every week," said Brown.

If a ban happens, Charlottesville would join a growing list of cities across the country taking similar steps to cut down on pollution and garbage.

The mayors of New York, San Francisco, and other cities already say they won't buy any more bottled water. And on Tuesday in Chicago, city leaders there proposed a tax of up to 25 cents per bottle.

"There's so much plastic," said Richard M Daley, the mayor of Chicago. "I mean just not just bottled water but there's so much plastic in our lives it's amazing."

Under a water bottle ban, the City of Charlottesville wouldn't buy any more bottles for city events, like council meetings. And they'd likely disappear from city-owned vending machines.

But a ban would have no effect on stores. Consumers could still buy bottled water all over town.

"We can influence what the consumers in the city choose to do but we can't, and I don't think we'd want, to regulate what they do."

So far, there's no time line on this proposed ban. Mayor Brown said he was throwing the topic out for simple discussion. But he does think this might be a way to make Charlottesville an even greener and more environmentally friendly city.

About a year ago Mayor Brown committed to reduce the amount of energy consumed in the city. Since then, hundreds of mayors have signed documents making similar commitments.

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