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10 reasons why national parks should buck the bottle

Corporate Accountability International
Zion hydration station

You’ve probably seen them. Plastic bottles of water for sale … in some of our most pristine and naturally gorgeous places: our national parks.

You’re not alone. Every year, hundreds of millions of park visitors get the message that the only place to get safe water is from a plastic bottle. This is just wrong, because bottled water is far less regulated than tap.

But for years, the bottled-water industry has used our national parks as a billboard and concession stand to sell their products. And Coke (producer of Dasani) leads the way.

We’re not buying it any more.  Our parks are not for sale, and neither is our most essential shared resource: water.

Top ten reasons to call on national parks to Think Outside the Bottle

10. People drink a lot of water in the parks. 
People drink 2.6 billion gallons of water in national parks every year. That’s enough to fill almost 4,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. That’s a lot of water in plastic bottles that could be coming straight from the tap. 

9. It’s good for parks’ budgets … and therefore the taxpayer’s wallet. 
Before going bottled water free, Grand Canyon National Park estimated that 30 percent of its recycling waste came from disposable plastic bottles – and disposing of those bottles poses significant costs to national parks … that is, our tax dollars!

8. And it’s good for your pocketbook. 
Bottled water is a lot more expensive than tap water – about 1900 times more. And, bottled-water-free Zion National Park sells water bottles that cost just about as much as a bottle of water.

7. There’s way too much plastic waste – in our parks and in the country. 
Did you know, Americans use enough plastic water bottles every year to circle the equator 217 times end-to-end?! Since bucking the bottle, Zion National Park has 5,000 fewer pounds of trash each year.

6. National parks conserve nature – they should conserve energy, too. 
It took 8 million kilowatt hours each year to produce the number of bottles that were being sold at the Grand Canyon. By going bottled water free, the Grand Canyon is conserving enough energy to power over 700 U.S. homes for a year!

5. Climate change, climate change, climate change. 
About 20 billion barrels of oil go into producing all the water bottles that Americans throw out each year. And it generates more than 25 million tons of greenhouse gases.  That’s equivalent to putting about 4.7 million more cars on the road for a year!

4. But it’s about far more than plastic bottles. 
The bottled-water industry uses our national parks to paint its eco-unfriendly product green. 
For example, Coca-Cola has spent decades using our national parks to promote its brand. During the 1960’s Coca-Cola launched “Discover America”: a marketing campaign that tied it closely to the National Park Service.

3. Even retailers who sell bottled water want parks to buck the bottle. 
Xanterra Parks and Resorts manages lodgings and shops at the parks … and it’s helped both Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon phase out bottled water sales. Chris Lane, the company’s VP for environmental affairs, said: “We sell bottled water, so in theory it would be a hit to our finances. But there is an alternative. There was water before there was bottled water. Nobody was dying of thirst.

2. The bottled-water industry has no place meddling in park policy. 
When the Grand Canyon decided to go bottled water free, Coca-Cola got the plan tabled by leveraging its relationship with the National Park Foundation — the most important funder of the National Park Service. 
Thanks to the outcry by people like you across the country, the Grand Canyon stood up to Coke. But the corporation made sure other parks would face multiple hurdles to go bottled water free. 

1.  You’re already making in happen! The growing momentum across the country can turn bottled-water-free parks into a reality. 
After extensive studies to make sure going bottled water free was possible and safe, Zion and the Grand Canyon did it. They installed hydration stations and maps with their locations so people know how and where to get water. And there are a dozen more parks that have done the same. YOUR favorite park could be next!

In short, national parks going bottled water free is good for the environment, our pocketbooks and our democracy. Our national parks should not be billboards and concession stands for this ecologically damaging product.

You can make a difference!

Protect our parks and make sure the bottled-water industry can no longer undermine confidence in the tap.

Call on the National Park Service director to make our national parks bottled water free!


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