Sayonara, Single-Use Water Bottles?

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New York City water is well-known for good water, with some calling it the “champagne of tap water.” Climate-minded lawmakers want everyone to use tap water, and are trying to write it into law. 

Four bills introduced to City Council aim to reduce or prohibit single-use water containers. 

Ints. 695, and 692, sponsored Councilmember Sandy Nurse of District 37 in Brooklyn, look to reduce the sale of single-use plastics in the city and to study the impact of microplastics in drinking water. Movement on the legislation has been slow: The bills were first introduced in 2022. 

In new legislation, Councilmember Erik Bottcher of Manhattan wants to prohibit city agencies from purchasing single-use water bottles. His bill, Int. 741, stipulates that in case of emergencies or for city health reasons, city agencies may purchase clean drinking water in single-use containers. 

To reduce the need for single-use water bottles, Bottcher introduced a second bill, Int. 10. If passed, Int. 10 would establish a pilot program to install drinking fountains on existing fire hydrants. However, the proposal faces challenges in implementation, including concerns about water quality and maintenance costs. Critics argue that retrofitting fire hydrants with refill stations may not be feasible or cost-effective, especially in densely populated areas with limited space.

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The New York Deparment of Sanitation estimated that New Yorkers tossed 742 million single-use plastic water bottles in 2021. A 2020 executive order by then-Mayor Bill de Blasio required all city agencies to reduce their consumption of single-use plastic water bottles. How well that executive order worked is unknown, but a more recent estimate suggests New Yorkers now toss about 800 million plastic water bottles per year, an estimate of 58 million more single-use bottles than in 2021. 

The bills have a long way to go before they are signed into law. Regardless, it's always a great idea to carry a reusable water bottle.


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Michaela Keil
Michaela Keil
Michaela Keil is the Editor of Bluedot Living Brooklyn, and the Managing Editor, Special Projects, for the Brooklyn Eagle. When she's not writing, you can either find her outside — in the rain, shine, snow, or cold — or inside baking bread. Find her on twitter @mkeil16.
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