Thursday, May 7, 2009

Progress on Bottle Water Reduction in NYS

This week Corporate Accountability International heard an exciting announcement from Governor Paterson’s office that New York State will be cutting spending on bottled water across all state agencies! We're happy, as you know, we launched the No Water Bottle Challenge earlier this year.

No more water-cooler chat in state offices? Gov. David Paterson will announce this morning that the state is phasing out its bottled-water spending, which will eventually bring an end to the maintenance of water coolers and the purchase of bottled waters for meetings.In addition to the green argument that the bottles create unneeded waste, there’s a common-sense argument: The state is already paying for the public water system and its water purchases amount to the Ford company buying a fleet of BMWs for its employees.

Corporate Accountability International, which has been urging the state to make this move as part of its Think Outside the Bottle initiative, praised the governor’s action, which makes New York the third state to implement a bottle reduction. The executive order, it says, “is the furthest reaching of the three state actions taken to date (Illinois cut bottled water spending a year ago but did so through its executive branch procurement office, Virginia cut bottled water spending in the governor’s budget).” This action sends an important message that in these difficult economic times, state government can both cut waste and invest in shared public resources, like water, upon which local economies rely.

Earlier this year, the Think Outside the Bottle Campaign, a Corporate Accountability International-led initiative, issued a letter to all 50 governors encouraging them to stop spending state dollars on bottled water. Organizations and thousands of individuals nationwide joined the call. Today, New York became the first to answer it, acting at the urging of the grassroots. Recently, Paterson also signed into law a “Bigger, Better Bottle Bill” which includes a five cent deposit on bottled water sales, which is returned when the bottle is turned in for recycling. This executive order, however, goes one step further by reducing the overall amount of bottles that need to be recycled in the first place.New York State is famous for its high-quality tap water, yet nearly 2.5 billion bottles of water are sold statewide.

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