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Grand Canyon moves forward with ban on plastic bottles

Post by Jeff Mayor / The News Tribune on Feb. 8, 2012 at 9:32 am |
February 8, 2012 9:32 am

Within the next month Grand Canyon National Park will eliminate the in-park sale of water packaged in individual disposable containers under a plan approved earlier this week. Free water stations are available throughout the park to allow visitors to fill reusable water bottles.

The park’s plan calls for the elimination of the sale of water packaged in individual disposable containers of less than one gallon, including plastic bottles and various types of boxes, said a park news release. The waste associated with disposable bottles comprises an estimated 20 percent of the park’s overall waste stream and 30 percent of the park’s recyclables.

Grand Canyon’s plan was submitted and approved in accordance with the policy issued by Park Service Director Jarvis last December. Under the policy, individual parks are to implement a disposable plastic water bottle recycling and reduction policy, with an option to eliminate in-park sales – with the approval of the park’s regional director – following an analysis of a variety of factors ranging from the cost to install water filling stations, to the cost and availability of BPA-free reusable containers, to potential effects on public safety.

“Our parks should set the standard for resource protection and sustainability,” John Wessels, regional director for Intermountain Region, said in a prepared statement. “Grand Canyon National Park has provided an excellent analysis of the impacts the elimination of bottled water would have and has developed a well-thought-out plan for ensuring that the safety, needs and comfort of visitors continue to be met in the park. I feel confident that the impacts to park concessioners and partners have been given fair consideration and that this plan can be implemented with minimal impacts to the visiting public.”

“We want to minimize both the monetary and environmental costs associated with water packaged in disposable containers,” Dave Uberuaga, park’s superintendent, said in a statement.

Click here to view a copy of the servicewide policy on reduction of disposable plastic bottles in parks.

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