IBWA Applauds House Passage of Interior Appropriations Bill that Keeps Bottled Water Available to National Park Visitors

MEDIA RELEASE
July 14, 2016

Alexandria, VA – The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) congratulates the U.S. House of Representatives on its passage of the fiscal year (FY) 2017 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill (H.R. 5538), which contains a provision that prevents the National Park Service (NPS) from using federal money to implement a policy that allows individual national parks to ban the sale of bottled water.

IBWA also applauds the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee for recognizing the need to end this deeply flawed policy in the report accompanying the FY 2017 Interior Appropriations Bill approved by the committee.

“As temperatures top 100 degrees in many parts of the country, IBWA applauds these actions that recognize the importance of making available the healthiest packaged beverage to help the millions of people from around the world who visit America’s many National Parks stay well hydrated,” said IBWA Vice President of Communications Chris Hogan. “Consumption of water in all forms – tap, filtered, and bottled – should always be encouraged and IBWA applauds the members of the House and Senate who recognize that access to bottled water is a key component of healthy hydration.”

“As bottled water is poised to become America’s number one beverage of choice, we should be encouraging, not discouraging, water consumption,” said Hogan. “Research shows that 92 percent Americans feel that bottled water should be available wherever other beverages are sold. And while 95 percent of consumers believe that bottled water is a healthier beverage choice than soft drinks, the national parks that have banned the sale of bottled water continue to sell those less-healthy sugary beverages.”

Although the bottled water sales ban policy, Policy Memorandum 11-03 (PM 11-03), Disposable Plastic Water Bottle Recycling and Reduction, December 14, 2011, was ostensibly established to reduce plastic waste left behind by park visitors, people coming to  the parks are still allowed to buy other consumer goods, including sodas, sports drinks, teas, milk, beer, and wine. All of those products can still be purchased in plastic, glass, cans, and cardboard containers—but bottled water in plastic containers is not available for sale in 22 National Parks. Moreover, research shows that when bottled water isn’t available, 63 percent of people will choose soda or another sugary drink - not tap water.

“Bottled water’s environmental footprint is the lowest of any packaged beverage and bottled water has the smallest water and energy use footprint of any packaged beverage,” said Hogan. “Bottled water Bottled water uses only 0.01 percent of all water used in the U.S. and the results of a benchmarking study show that the amount of water and energy used to produce bottled water products in North America is less than all other types of packaged beverages. On average, only 1.32 liters of water (including the liter of water consumed) and 0.24 mega joules of energy are used to produce one liter of finished bottled water.”

Furthermore, between 2000 and 2014, the average weight of a 16.9-ounce (half-liter) PET plastic bottle has declined 51 percent. This has resulted in a savings of 6.2 billion pounds of PET resin since 2000. PET plastic bottled water containers are the most frequently recycled PET beverage container in curbside recycling programs; they also use significantly less plastic than soft drink bottles, which must be thicker to preserve carbonation. Measured in tons of landfill space, PET plastic bottled water containers make up just 3.3 percent of all beverage containers that end up in landfills. Waste percentage numbers are much higher for the glass (66.7 percent), aluminum (7.9 percent), and plastic soft drink bottles (13.3 percent) that end up in landfills.

“The bottled water industry works hard to provide consumers with healthy hydration and promotes environmentally responsible packaging practices and recycling. We are encouraged by the actions of the full House and Senate committee and call on the NPS to end its arbitrary policy that allows for banning the sale of the healthiest packaged beverage. NPS should develop an effective and fair recycling program that uniformly, consistently, and comprehensively addresses the issues of waste disposal and/or littering of all products sold or brought into all the parks,” said Hogan.

To learn more about bottled water, please visit IBWA’s website at www.bottledwater.org.

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NOTE: Photos/head shots available upon request

Media Contact:
Jill Culora
jculora@bottledwater.org
703.647.4609

The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) is the authoritative source of information about all types of bottled waters, including spring, mineral, purified, artesian, and sparkling. Founded in 1958, IBWA's membership includes U.S. and international bottlers, distributors and suppliers. IBWA is committed to working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates bottled water as a packaged food product, to set comprehensive and stringent standards for safe, high-quality bottled water products.

In addition to FDA regulations, IBWA member bottlers must adhere to the IBWA Bottled Water Code of Practice, which mandates additional standards and practices that in some cases are more stringent than federal and state regulations. A key feature of the IBWA Bottled Water Code of Practice is a mandatory annual plant inspection by an independent, third-party organization.

IBWA is proud to help support Drink Up!, an initiative of former First Lady Michelle Obama and the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), which encourages everyone to drink more water more often – whether from the tap, a filter, or in a bottle. Choosing water is always the healthy choice.

Consumers can contact IBWA at 1-800-WATER-11 or visit IBWA's website (www.bottledwater.org) for more information about bottled water. Media inquiries can be directed to IBWA Vice President of Communications Jill Culora at 703-647-4609 or jculora@bottledwater.org.