The following is a press release from Rep. Tom Sannicandro's office:
Rep. Tom Sannicandro (D-Ashland), one of Framingham's three state representatives, filed a bill that would prohibit the use of public funds to purchase bottled water, a bill that would reduce waste, energy use, and costs.
“There is no reason we should spend taxpayers’ money on a product that is unnecessary, expensive and harmful to the environment when there are clean and cheap alternatives,” Rep. Sannicandro said in a press release. “It is important that we lead by example and do our part to reduce bottle waste and save the Commonwealth money.”
In December, the MetroWest Daily News ran a story about how the state had expended $300,000 in half the fiscal year on bottled water to staff events and meetings, often at buildings that have clean drinking water available. The state Operational Services Committee calculates that approximately 1.4 million dollars are spend on bottled water contracts each year, according to 2012 spending, the last year for which data is available.
"Not only is state spending on bottled water wasteful at a time when our state can ill afford unnecessary expenses, it broadcasts the absolute wrong message about the value, quality and importance of our public water systems," said Kristin Urquiza, a spokesperson for Corporate Accountability International in the press release.
While tap water could cost pennies for a gallon, bottled water could be between 250 and 10,000 times more expensive. And compared to a liter of tap water, a liter of bottled water requires as much as 2,000 times as much energy, according to one study said the press release. That study also found that bottled water consumption in America alone sucked up between 32 and 54 million barrels of oil last year.
This bill would recommit state agencies to use our public water supplies.
Sannicandro believes it makes no economical or environmental sense for Mass Water Resource Authorities (MWRA) to host meetings with bottled water on the table when reservoirs connected to state of the art water purification systems sit directly behind those buildings.
This bill does not affect Massachusetts residents’ ability to purchase bottled water.