The Global View

Seattle mayor ditches $58,000 bottled water

water3.jpgThere’s nothing that induces green guilt like bottled water. You can make the bottle live again by refilling it and taking it to work with you, but it stares back up at you from your desk, whispering perniciously “you still bought me, didn’t you? you think tap water’s not good enough eh, Mr Big Shot? You think your itinerant thirst is more important than the environment, don’t you, you freaking eco-criminal? Shame on you! Shame!” Until you have to recycle it to stop the terrible accusations. At least, that’s what happens to Greenbang.

Perhaps that’s what happens to Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels. The man signed an order this month to cut out bottle water from all government buildings and events, after giving a thumbs-up to Seatlle’s tasty tap water and a thumbs-down to the “environmental cost of throw away plastic bottles.

Here’s more from the horse’s mouth:

“This is a matter of leading by example,” Nickels said. “The people of Seattle own one of the best water supplies in the country, every bit as good as bottled water and available at a fraction of the price. When you add up the tremendous environmental costs of disposable plastic bottles clogging our landfills, the better choice is crystal clear.”

Last year, the city spent about $58,000 for bottled water at city facilities and events. The mayor’s order would phase out city purchases of bottled water by the end of the year, while encouraging employees to switch to municipal water. It would not ban the private purchase of bottled water by city employees.

Bottled water, which costs about $8 a gallon, is about 2,400 times as expensive as tap water, which runs about one-third of one cent. In 2006 Americans bought a total of 31.2 billion liters of bottled water, requiring nearly 900,000 tons of plastic produced from fossil fuels and more than 17 million barrels of oil, not including the energy for transportation. That adds up to more than 2.5 million tons of greenhouse gases.

Greenbang thinks the mayor may now be her favourite Greg ever, beating golfer Greg Norman and To Kill a Mockingbird‘s Gregory Peck.