If, like me, it’s been a long time since you’ve had the chance to venture out to Saguaro National Park East, you may not have seen the park’s new water-bottle filler.
Apparently it was installed in March, yeah it’s been that long since I’ve been there, as a way to to reduce the park’s ecological footprint.
According to post on the park’s page officials decided to stop selling bottled water and soda through vending machines, choosing instead to sell reusable water bottles for $2 and installing the filling stations.
Here’s a snippet from the park:
Saguaro National Park joined a growing number of parks and universities no longer using vending machines to sell disposable bottled water or soda on site. According to the EPA, over 1,125,000,000 pints of bottled water were sold in the United States in 2011. The EPA estimates that less than 15% of those plastic water bottles are recycled; the rest go into landfills or are discarded as litter.
While disposable bottles are no longer available, new water bottle fillers and a variety of reusable water bottles are available at both visitor centers.
Saguaro National Park has long been committed to recycling plastic and aluminum, saving 61,500 pounds of recyclable waste from landfills in 2010 alone. However, transporting disposable bottles to be recycled also costs money, time and gasoline. The park could eliminate up to 40% of what is currently recycled; about 15% of the park’s total waste stream. Saguaro conducted a thorough analysis of the potential impacts of eliminating the sale of disposable bottled water and soda, and determined that the more sustainable solution is to provide new water bottle filling stations for visitors to refill their own reusable containers.
In addition to installing the filling stations at the visitor center, officials installed one at Saguaro Park East’s bicycle ramada as well.
According to Analysis performed by park officials, the four vending machines sold about $10,000 worth of drinks. Of that $4 thousand went to the park.
They found that eliminating the machines would reduce the amount of recycling they had to pay to remove from the park by 40 percent.