Adopted by the Arlington County Board on June 16, 2009
WHEREAS, transportation of bottled water by boat, truck and rail involves burning massive quantities of fossil fuels; and
WHEREAS, the use of plastic water bottles has grown 12% since 1997 and that approximately 2 million tons of #1 plastic bottles are not recycled, equating to nearly 18 million barrels of crude oil in lost energy value; and
WHEREAS, locally, plastic bottles are a prime source of litter and pollution in the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers causing great concern about the environmental impacts of bottled water plastics that may take thousands of years to degrade, while their components seep into our water supplies; and
WHEREAS, Arlington County is in the business of producing safe, healthy tap water that meets and exceeds all state and federal standards, while bottled water is largely unregulated; and
WHEREAS, cost savings could be significant when comparing the use tap water to the purchase of bottled water. The current water rate in Arlington County is $3.35 per 1,000 gallons compared to a cost of approximately $2,560 for the same amount of bottled water.
WHEREAS, especially in difficult budget times, cutting costs anywhere possible is a requirement for good stewards of public funds; and
WHEREAS, there is a growing trend to limit the purchase of bottled water and Governor Kaine issued Executive Order #82 in June 2009 prohibiting all executive branch agencies and institutions from procuring water in individual serving-sized containers made of plastic except for use in emergencies or for safety and health reasons; and
WHEREAS, Arlington County has been a national leader on environmental and sustainability issues, especially with the successes of the Fresh AIRE program; and
WHEREAS, Arlington County has the ability to be a leader both as an employer and throughout the community and would join other leaders in other municipalities in efforts to reduce bottled water consumption and waste.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT, the Arlington County Board directs the County Manager to establish an internal policy to prohibit the use of County funds to purchase single serving bottled water. Exceptions may be made by the County Manager in those limited circumstances of an emergency, for safety and health reasons, or where municipal tap water is not easily available.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT, the County Manager shall pursue the use of large water dispensers at County events that utilize tap water in lieu of the repeated purchase of cases of individual water bottles.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT, the County Manager shall continue to promote the health benefits of drinking water while incorporating these policies into the ongoing employee educational programs such as HealthSmart, FitArlington and the AIRE program.