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March 24, 2010

State spends $200,000 on bottled water

According to a new report released today, the state of Maryland spent at least $200,000 on bottled water last year.

The report, called Getting States Off the Bottle, was released by Corporate Accountability International, a membership nonprofit that calls out corporations on their "irresponsible and dangerous" actions.

The group says water bottling companies scare the public into drinking only bottle water that fouls the environment and burdens the budget. But in about 44 percent of cases, bottle water is tap water. At the same time state and local governments are buying into the companies' PR campaign that local tap water is unsafe, the governments are failing to invest in proper upkeep of water infrastructure, the report says.

The report authors have taken a look at state bottled water expenditures -- though a real look is tough because a lot of the water purchases are hard to track. This is the second installment of the report and includes five states. Maryland is one. The others are Minnesota, Colorado, New Mexico and Oregon. The range of spending was between $78,000 and $475,000 during fiscal '09. 

“Plastic water bottles are a major contributer to waste in our stream, rivers, and bay.” said Mary Roby, executive director of Herring Run Watershed Association, in a statement. She participated in an event to draw attention to the bottled water today in Druid Hill Park. She and others called on Gov. O'Malley to cancel state spending on bottled water.

Supporters say more than 100 cities and three states (Illinios, Virginia and New York) already have cut spending on bottled water or upped their contribution to public water. 

Corporate Accountability International says officials in Gov. O’Malley’s office have said they will  work on reducing spending on bottled water and continue to invest in public water. Already the state has funnelled $119 million in stimulus money to water quality and drinking water projects in the state. The group says public water systems across the country need about $22 billion in investment.

The group also wants other public workers -- and the public -- to cut bottled water use in non-emergency situations. Officials there say surveys show a third of people who had switched to bottled water have recently switched back.

Are you one of them?

MCT file photo

Posted by Meredith Cohn at 7:00 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: News


All the bottles have "recycling" indicators on the bottom. This leaves the impression that they are able to be placed into the recycling system and re-used in another manner.

Some of us have issues with minerals and other foreign objects in the local water (I am in Carroll) that leave black specks on the screens of the faucets. We do not have the money to buy water treatment equipment. So we drink water out of bottles to be safe.

Oddly enough I was just having a conversation with my roommate yesterday about how many of his coworkers drink bottled water exclusively (as in, they never ever touch tap water), to the tune of $1000+ a year. Granted they don't work for the state but good god, that is a helluva lot of money to spend on probably tap water in plastic bottles.

Bottled Water is not safer than tap water. It is a bottler scam. I am pretty sure your local discount store has adaptable water filters for your kitchen sink. Those are your best bet if you want to be "safe."

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About the bloggers
Tim WheelerTim Wheeler reports on the environment and Chesapeake Bay. A native of West Virginia, he has focused mainly on Maryland's environment since moving here in 1983. Along the way, he's crewed aboard a skipjack in the bay, canoed under city streets up the Jones Fall from the Inner Harbor, and gone deep underground in a western Maryland coal mine. He loves seafood, rambles in the country and good stories. He hopes to share some here.

Contributor Christy Zuccarini has been blogging about the local DIY craft scene for a year for She brings her pespective on all things handmade to B'More Green, where she will highlight projects you can do yourself as well as crafters who are integrating sustainable methods and materials.

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