Should the sale of bottled water be banned from national parks? (These bottles create massive – and expensive – waste)

plastic bottles cc

I am pretty much against bottled water in principal. Though I will admit on occasion I’ll stop at a 7-11 after a trip to the beach or after a hike and guzzle a bottle down. However it is never lost on me that I am paying for something which is essentially free. I am paying $1.50 for the convenience of a cold bottle of water. But I will also say that I never feel good about it. Bottled water, in the USA at least, is pretty much a waste of money.

Apparently some honchos in the National Park Service have a similar disdain for bottled water, but it appears for different reasons. It seems that bottled water, sold in national parks, creates lots of waste. It’s expensive to deal with. As such there is an effort afoot to ban the sale of bottled water in national parks.

The bottled water companies are understandably not happy about such a ban and are unleashing their lobbyists to head off the bottled water prohibition.

I live right next to a national park (I’m literally looking at it right now as I write this.) and I have seen piles of plastic water bottles in high traffic areas. I can see how it could be a real pain to deal with all of this waste and why water bottle filling stations make a lot more sense.

The water companies argue though that people will just choose to drink less healthy sugary sodas which it appears according to the attached article will not be prevented from sale in parks. (Many of the bottled water companies are also soda companies of course which is a weird wrinkle.) Why should Coke be sold in cans and bottles but not bottled water?

This seems a legitimate question, but it should be noted that one can not extract Mountain Dew from actual mountains. Water however does indeed come straight from the ground, and this is a fundamental difference.

I’d actually say that if one was going to ban anything (and I am not generally for banning very much) one should simply ban plastic bottles no matter what is inside of them, not just bottled water. But then Coke and Pepsi get really really angry and nobody wants that. Irritating the water division of Coca-Cola Industries is one thing. Irritating Coca-Cola Industries is quite another.

There is no easy answer here. Lots of ins and outs and what-have-yous.

Click here for the article.