Bottled Water

Americans discarded approximately 50 billion plastic water bottles last year, requiring 20 billion barrels of oil and generating more than 25 million tons of greenhouse gases. In 2018, only 13% of plastic containers and packaging were recycled. For each gallon of water that is bottled, two additional gallons of water are used in processing. See RPN’s purchasing guide on bottled water for more information.

Some exceptions to consider on the prohibition on bottled water include instances when municipal water supplies are contaminated, or in other emergency situations. 

Proposed procurement goals:
  • Prohibit municipal purchase of single use bottled water 
  • Install filtered drinking water stations (including bottleless water coolers and water fountains) that meet NSF 53 filter standard for lead and other contaminants to replace existing drinking water stations 
  • All new drinking water stations meet NSF 53 filter standard for lead and other contaminants 
  • Collect data on use reductions to document savings
Public policy:
  • Prohibit single use bottled water at municipal events
  • Brand local water for community education  
Case studies:
  • St. Louis, MO: Executive Order #43 prohibits its “departments, divisions, and agencies [from] purchasing single-serving bottled water for employee consumption with City Funds.” RPN
  • The City of Ann Arbor banned single use water bottles. The resolution bars city vendors from selling commercial bottled water at city events. The City of Ann Arbor also brands its water. 
  • The City of San Francisco has banned the purchase of bottled water.
  • The purchase of packaged water with public funds has been prohibited in dozens of cities and states/provinces in the U.S. and Canada. This type of ban saves taxpayers money and frees funds for greater public benefit.