Seattle ditches bottled water

Seattle's City Hall is stepping up its efforts to compete with other green cities and states in the US by switching to tap water.

Mayor Greg Nickels announced he is phasing out the purchase of bottled water for city buildings and events by the end of this year to avoid the environmental cost of producing and throwing away plastic bottles.

The move, which will not ban employees from buying and bringing in their own bottled water, will save about $58,000 a year.

The order will apply to all city departments and officials hope it will promote Seattle's water and encourage City Hall staff and the public to kick the bottle habit.

"This is a matter of leading by example," said Mr Nickels. "The people of Seattle own one of the best water supplies in the country, every bit as good as bottled water and available at a fraction of the price.

"When you add up the tremendous environmental costs of disposable plastic bottles clogging our landfills, the better choice is crystal clear."

Seattle's water supply comes mainly from the nearby Cascade Mountains - an area which is access-controlled and has no industry or homes.

San Francisco and Los Angeles are among the major cities across the US that have already banned their departments from buying bottled water, while Chicago introduced a five-cent tax on all bottled water sold in the city at the beginning of this year.

Across the pond, London mayor Ken Livingstone and the city's water supplier, Thames Water, launched a campaign last month to persuade pubs, clubs, restaurants and hotels to ditch bottled water.

Mr Nickels' announcement came just a day after he launched plans for new fuel efficiency standards for the city's taxis which would require drivers to switch to vehicles that can do 30 miles per gallon or more.

Most of the city's current fleet of 643 taxis are Ford Crown Victorias which average 18 miles per gallon.

Kate Martin


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