Survey on City Bottled Water Use:

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1 Survey on City Bottled Water Use: Local Trends in Bottled Water Policies THE U.S. CONFERENCE OF MAYORS MAYORS WATER COUNCIL July 2010 Washington, DC THE UNITED STATES CONFERENCE OF MAYORS

2 THE UNITED STATES CONFERENCE OF MAYORS Elizabeth B. Kautz Mayor of Burnsville President Antonio R. Villaraigosa Mayor of Los Angeles Vice President Michael Nutter Mayor of Philadelphia Second Vice President Tom Cochran CEO and Executive Director 2

3 Survey on City Bottled Water Use: Local Trends in Bottled Water Policies THE U.S. CONFERENCE OF MAYORS MAYORS WATER COUNCIL Written by: Brett Rosenberg The United States Conference of Mayors 3

4 Survey on City Bottled Water Use: Local Trends in Bottled Water Policies In late spring of 2010, the Mayors Water Council of The United States Conference of Mayors conducted a survey of city bottled water use. The survey, an outcome of policies the mayors have adopted over the past few years that focus on the importance of municipal water supplies and infrastructure, provides a useful update on city bottled water usage policy. Respondents included mayors or city staff of 101 cities, representing 35 states and covering over 21.5 million people. The survey results, based on eight substantive questions, are presented below, along with explanatory graphs or figures. With its implicit focus on the importance of municipal water and water infrastructure, the first questions sets a baseline for subsequent questions on city bottled water use. Of the 100 replies (out of 101 total city survey responses), 86% responded that they are responsible for providing tap water to city residents. See Figure 1. The second question inquired whether cities have simply considered reducing city purchases of bottled water both at city facilities and at public city- sponsored events. It does not ask whether any official bottled water policies exist; rather, it examines if mayors and other public officials have recognized city bottled water purchases as an issue worthy of their consideration. With regard to city facilities, such as City Hall, municipal offices and other entities, 73.2% of respondents indicated that they have considered reducing or eliminating city bottled water purchases, while 26.8% said they have not. As for public city- sponsored events, 55.1% of the responses indicated consideration of reducing or eliminating bottled water purchases and 44.9% indicated otherwise. See Figure 2. Question three adds some depth to the previous question by asking about the rationale behind a potential bottled water use policy. The question looked into whether cities have conducted cost comparisons of bottled water to 4

5 equivalent volumes of public tap water. Of the 100 responses, 59% indicated that they had carried out such analyses while 41% had not. See Figure 3. Figure 3. Compared Cost of Tap Water to BoCled Water 60% 40% 20% 0% Yes 59% No 41% The next set of question asked whether cities have formal bottled water bans of various kinds in place. The fourth question asked whether the City Council has formally adopted a ban on single- serve bottles and large water cooler- style containers. With respect to single- serve containers, 12 cities responded that they have formal City Council- endorsed bans in place; seven cities have similar bans for water coolers. Two respondents noted that their City Council rejected proposed bans on bottled water purchases; no cities indicated that their Councils rejected ban proposals on water coolers. Two cities responded that their Council tabled a ban proposal on any type of bottled water and eight cities indicated that their Councils held over for future consideration similar ban proposals. Question four also asked, in an open- ended fashion, what other considerations cities may have, vis- à- vis bottled water bans. The responses varied, with many comments on how cities are thinking about bottled water issues in general. A common theme among the many comments involved a number of informal bans in place rather than official bans on record, cities are actively discouraging bottled water use throughout city facilities. Specifically, 47 cities said that they either formally or informally ban or discourage municipal bottled water use. This value includes bans issued through mayoral executive orders, which the next question addresses. See Figure 4. Question five asked whether the Mayor has issued an Executive Order to formally adopt or reject a ban proposal on bottled water. Nine cities indicated that the Mayor has issued an Executive Order adopting a ban; no cities responded that the Mayor has rejected such a proposal. See Figure 4. Cities have implemented bans, both formal and informal, for numerous reasons. The sixth question provides insight as to the rationale behind bottled water policies. The percentages listed below are based on the 47 cities that indicated either a formal or informal bottled water ban; the responses are not mutually exclusive. 5

6 The survey then asked which, if any, of the following reasons underlie bottled water bans (See Figure 5): a. reduce purchasing costs 38% b. reduce waste handling costs 32% c. reduce solid waste generation 38% d. promote public water system 45% e. as part of a broader city wide green or climate initiative 45% f. not applicable 52, total The survey next asked whether the cities with bottled water bans in place allow for exemptions. Of the 47 cities with formal or informal bottled water policies, 25.5% allow an exemption of some sort, while 12.8% do not; there were 31 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Reduce purchasing Costs Figure 5. Why Ban BoCled Water? Reduce Waste Handling Costs Reduce Solid Waste Generafon Promote Public As part of a Water System Broader Green or Climate Inifafve Not applicable responses out of the 47 with bans of some sort. See Figure 6. Responses cities listed as possible reasons for exemptions included a fairly even mix of the following: Public safety emergencies; Water service interruptions; Remote city locations; Impracticality for some public events; Legal or other contractual obligations in place; Off- site training. The final question asked whether cities reallocated any savings from reduced bottled water spending into other forms of local government spending. Based on the 47 cities with formal or informal bottled water bans in place, Yes No Figure 6. to BoCled Water Rules? Not Applicable 62% 26% 13% Given reasons for Public safety emergencies; Water service interrupfons; Remote city locafons; Impracfcality for some public events; Legal or other contractual obligafons in place; Off- site training. 6

7 21.3% said that they have reallocated savings; 19.1% said that they have not. Of the 66 total cities that responded Not applicable, 29 had formal or informal bans in place. In their comments, cities listed several reallocation options, including reassigning savings to the general fund; line- item reallocation; and drinking water appurtenance upgrades, such as drinking fountain installations or replacements. See Figure 7. Figure 7. Has City Reallocated Savings? 21.3% 59.6% 19.1% Yes No N/A 7

8 Appendix 1: Survey Responses The U.S. Conference of Mayors Mayors Water Council Survey on Cities Bottled Water Use Policies City Bottled Water Policies Survey 1. Is your city responsible for providing public tap water? a. Yes 86% b. No 14% 2. A. Has your city considered reducing or eliminating city purchases of bottled water at city facilities? a. Yes 73.2% b. No 26.8% B. Has your city considered reducing or eliminating city purchases of bottled water at public city-sponsored events? a. Yes 55.1% b. No 44.9% 3. Has your city compared the cost of bottled water to the cost for an equivalent volume of public tap water from your city water source? a. Yes 59% b. No 41% 4. Has your City Council formally: a. Adopted a ban proposal on (choose all that apply): 1. single serve bottled water water coolers 7 b. Rejected a ban proposal on (choose all that apply): 1. single serve bottled water 2 2. water coolers 0 c. Tabled a ban proposal on any type of bottled water? 2 d. Held over for future consideration a ban proposal on any type of bottled water? 8 e. Other considerations (Please describe) 47 out of 101 cities have either a formal or informal ban in place 5. Has your Mayor issued an Executive Order to formally: a. Adopted a ban proposal on bottled water 9 b. Rejected a ban proposal on bottled water 0 c. Not applicable 81 8

9 6. If your city has adopted a ban, what were the key reasons for implementing the ban? (as percentage of formal and informal bans; i.e., 47) (Choose ALL that apply) a. reduce purchasing costs 38% b. reduce waste handling costs 32% c. reduce solid waste generation 38% d. promote public water system 45% e. as part of a broader city wide green or climate initiative 45% f. not applicable 52, total 7. If your city adopted a city purchase ban on bottled water does the ban allow for exceptions(percentages based on 47 formal/informal bans)? a. Yes 25.5% (please specify) b. No 12.8% c. Not applicable 68, total 8. If you have saved money from a bottled water purchase ban, has your city re- allocated that savings into other local government spending (percentages based on 47 formal/informal bans)? a. Yes 21.3% b. No 19.5% c. Not applicable 66, total 9

10 Appendix 2: Participating Cities Albany NY Germantown TN Northbrook IL Allentown PA Grand Rapids MI Pembroke Pines FL Allentown PA Hallandale Beach FL Pleasanton CA Arlington TX Hattiesburg MS Portland OR Auburn WA Hoffman Estates, Village of IL Quincy IL Austin TX Honolulu HI Racine WI Bay City MI Houston TX Redwood City CA Beaverton OR Huntersville NC Riverside CA Binghamton NY Indianapolis IN Rochester NY Bolingbrook IL Irvine CA Rochester MN Boulder CO Jacksonville FL Rockville MD Bullhead City AZ Jersey City NJ Salt Lake City UT Burbank CA Joliet IL San Francisco CA Burnsville MN Jonesboro AR Santa Barbara CA Carmel IN Kansas City KS Santa Fe NM Cathedral City CA La Habra CA Schaumburg IL Clearwater FL Lake Worth FL Schenectady NY Columbus OH Lakeland FL Somerville MA Danville VA Lancaster PA Sunnyvale CA Decatur AL Las Vegas NV Syracuse NY Denver CO Linden NJ Tacoma WA Dover DE Livermore CA Tallahassee FL Dubuque IA Los Angeles CA Tucson AZ Durham NC Macon GA University Heights OH Edina MN Manhattan Beach CA Urbana IL Elkhart IN Meridian MS Valdosta GA Elkhart IN Miramar FL Vancouver WA Encinitas CA Mountain View CA warren OH Eugene OR Muncie IN Warwick RI Florissant MO Myrtle Beach SC West Columbia SC Fort Lauderdale FL Napa CA West Palm Beach FL Frederick MD Norfolk VA Wilmington DE Frederick MD Norman OK Frisco TX North Miami FL 10

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