New Water-Filling Station At Lake Mead National Recreation Area Helps Cut Disposable Plastic Water Bottle Use

Jacob Vanlue, 17, from O'Fallon, Missouri, fills his water bottle at the water refilling station at the Alan Bible Visitor Center at Lake Mead National Recreation Area. NPS photo.

Editor's note: Due to concerns from the Haws Corporation, which has trademarked the phrase "Hydration Station," this story has been edited to remove those two words as they appear back to back.

A new water-filling station at the main visitor center for Lake Mead National Recreation Area has been in service for six months, and in addition to reducing the use of disposable plastic water bottles, use of the filtered water is proving popular with visitors. Since it's installation, the station has been used to fill 13,600 water bottles.

You'd expect to find a drinking fountain at any park visitor center—especially one in the desert—and this filling station does that job nicely, plus a little more. It works just like a standard drinking fountain but also has a shelf for easy filling of water bottles. A sensor initiates the water fill, and every time a bottle is filled, that action is automatically counted and displayed on the station.

“Word is getting around that this is the place to stop and refill your water bottle, which with the heat and everything else, that’s a really good message to have,” said Michelle Riter, a Lake Mead NRA district interpreter.

Riter said installation of the water-filling station at the Alan Bible Visitor Center is part of the Lake Mead NRA’s Climate Friendly Parks action plan to cut down on plastic water bottle waste. This plan includes initiatives to increase visitor use of refillable water bottles, increase number of filling stations in the park and collaborate with the visitor center store to sell less expensive refillable water bottles.

Once the water-refilling station was installed, Riter said they stopped selling bottled water at the visitor center store and began selling more varieties of refillable water bottles. She said the least expensive water bottle is only $2.99 and has the Lake Mead NRA logo on it along with facts about the park.

The Vanlue family, from O’Fallon, Mo., visited the store in early August, purchased a refillable water bottle and filled it at the station. After Jacob, 17, filled up his bottle, his mom, Barbara, said she was thankful for the station and the reduction of plastic water bottle waste in landfills.

Alternate Text
A counter automatically records how many times the water bottle portion of the station has been used. NPS photo.

It’s not just popular with families and individual visitors. Gabriel Kelsey-Yoder, Western National Parks Association (WNPA) bookstore manager, said large tour groups often stop by the visitor center and have been receptive to purchasing and using the refillable water bottles. She said she has seen campground users come to refill their water bottles at the refilling station as well because they prefer the cold, filtered water.

Park visitors, especially local hikers and bicyclists who use the trails, have been spreading the news about the new refilling station by word of mouth and through social media, Riter added. They are excited to see how many water bottles have been refilled and want refilling stations to be installed in other areas of the park.

Funding for the refilling station was provided by the WNPA. The Alan Bible Visitor Center is located just of US 93 between Boulder City, Nevada, and Hoover Dam.

Comments

So what.

And of course, they didn't "save" 13,618 water bottles. All they can claim is that it was used 13,000 times. Those users might have just as well refilled at a standard fountain, faucet or elsewhere without that station.

More mindless "do good".

Yeah, but I always figured it was better than mindless "do bad".

Sorry Rick - nothing "mindless" is better.

Are you talking about Congress?

ec - I think the key here is that, rather than buying more disposal bottles of water, people are reusing the reusables, thereby creating less waste and less litter. Regardless of whether it was 13,618 or 1, less waste and less litter is a good thing. Not mindless in the least, though, if you have stock in a disposal plastic water bottle factory, it may irritate you.


regardless of whether it was 13,618 or 1, less waste and less litter is a good thing. Not mindless in the least.


I totally disagree. Less "litter" at any cost is as mindless as "if it only saves one life".

First, we don't know that this had any impact on "litter" nor do we know that this watering station actually caused a shift from disposable bottles to reusable bottles as many users may have used tap water anyway. Finally, what is "good" about eliminating 1 bottle or even 13,000 while inconveniencing thousands of people. The fact that the device was used 13,000 times in six months when Lake Mead had approximately 3.4 million visitors just shows how insignificant this is.

Would you still think it to be mindless if it was your life?

And stop to think for a moment -- 3.4 million visitors. Hmmm, how many of them passed that hydration station and how many were never anywhere near close to it?

Then, your entitlement mentality is showing again in the comment about "inconveniencing thousands of people." It's pretty pathetic when having to fill a water bottle instead of trying to untangle a disposable from the plastic wrapping and binding material is an "inconvenience."

I'll grant that water bottles can be inconvenient, however. Having all those empty disposables rattling around in the car until you can find a recycle can is a bit messy. Although if you don't like that inconvenience, you can always toss it out the window as so many people seem to do.

But thanks for another good laugh this morning.


Would you still think it to be mindless if it was your life?


Yes. Or maybe you would like to shut the parks to visitors - because it would be worth it if it only saved one life.


It's pretty pathetic when having to fill a water bottle instead of trying to untangle a disposable from the plastic wrapping and binding material is an "inconvenience."


Yet millions of people make that choice every day. Talk about entitlement. You feel you are entitled to dictate how others lead their lives.


how many of them passed that hydration station and how many were never anywhere near close to it?


As usually you are totally oblivious to the point. In the scheme of things, that hydration station is a gnat on an elephants rear end and has absolutely no real beneficial impact. Mindless.

Thanks for another good laugh.

I realize the intent is to dispense a lesson about plastic waste along with the water, but I can't help wondering how much more these 'hydration stations' cost than a conventional faucet, with a shelf and perhaps a poster? Maybe the NPS is not quite as underfunded as they like to claim?

Speaking of plumbing fixtures, will Lake Mead (NPS acronym: LAME) still be part of the National Park System after it dries up?

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/08/12/2439931/reservoir-billboards-southwest/


Maybe the NPS is not quite as underfunded as they like to claim?


Not to mention the loss of revenue to the Park System by not selling bottled water.

Did some research. It looks like a station similar to the one in the photo costs between $1400 and $1700.

http://www.elkayusa.com/cps/rde/xchg/elkay/hs.xsl/elkay-com-97144.aspx

A standard drinking fountain with no frills is shown for $1076 on this site:

http://www.elkayusa.com/cps/rde/xchg/elkay/hs.xsl/elkay-search-results.aspx?search=EDFP19-Simulated%20Semi-Recessed%20Fountain&brand=Elkay&commercial=true&searchbutton.x=9&searchbutton.y=8

Toss in a few bells and whistles and the cost becomes almost identical with the hydration stations:

http://www.elkayusa.com/cps/rde/xchg/elkay/hs.xsl/elkay-search-results.aspx?search=GreenSpec+Listed+Vandal-Resistant+Wall+Mounts&brand=Elkay&commercial=false&searchbutton.x=4&searchbutton.y=6

I was surprised to learn how much drinking fountains cost -- whether for NPS or your friendly doctor's office.

Did some research. It looks like a station similar to the one in the photo costs between $1400 and $1700.

http://www.elkayusa.com/cps/rde/xchg/elkay/hs.xsl/elkay-com-97144.aspx

A standard drinking fountain with no frills is shown for $1076 on this site:

http://www.elkayusa.com/cps/rde/xchg/elkay/hs.xsl/elkay-search-results.aspx?search=EDFP19-Simulated%20Semi-Recessed%20Fountain&brand=Elkay&commercial=true&searchbutton.x=9&searchbutton.y=8

Toss in a few bells and whistles and the cost becomes almost identical with the hydration stations:

http://www.elkayusa.com/cps/rde/xchg/elkay/hs.xsl/elkay-search-results.aspx?search=GreenSpec+Listed+Vandal-Resistant+Wall+Mounts&brand=Elkay&commercial=false&searchbutton.x=4&searchbutton.y=6

I was surprised to learn how much drinking fountains cost -- whether for NPS or your friendly doctor's office.

A typical water station costs $1000. So, it is not "at any cost." It's pretty cheap, actually.

And, as mentioned here, rangers and maintenance people are picking up litter. Lots of it is disposable water bottles. I have had to pick them up on local trails because people are too lazy to carry them. We know, whether we all want to admit it or not, that people litter.

As to inconveniencing people, many laws and rules inconvenience people. Life sucks that way when you want to live in a civilized world. Just a few examples: speed limits, seat belts, having a smoke detector in your house. Yes, litter is not a matter of life and death but, the cost of litter is something we shouldn't have to bear (if it wasn't really a problem, the Adopt-A-Road Program wouldn't exist). If inconveniencing people was the ONLY reason not to implement something, there would be no laws nor rules. And to be honest, I find it very inconveient that I have to wait in line with others to try to get a bottle of water in the gift shop. I also find it very inconvenient that I have to deal with trash from others that are too lazy to find a trashcan or recycle bin.

Finally, it is significant in that potentially 13,618 disposable water bottles did not make it into a landfill. Yes, it may only be one. But that is a start. We have to start somewhere.

dahkotoa, many thanks for a refreshingly sensible comment.

dahkota - Of course "incovenience" shouldn't be the only factor. Just as stopping one bottle shouldn't. The issue is balance - cost/benefit. A speed limit is 65 not because that will prevent any accidents but because that it the speed at which we reach an acceptable trade off between safety and the convenience of getting somewhere fast. I personally don't think seat belts should be mandatory but one would be stupid not to use one. Ditto for smoke detectors. In my mind the benefits of seat belts and smoke detectors out weigh the inconvience but I don't believe I should force my personal judgements on others. If they want a water station -fine and those that want to use it can. I just see no value in preventing the sale of bottle water.

I think where we really differ is whether there really is a problem and whether this provides a solution. Yes, people litter. Is this a major problem in the Parks. In my experience it is less so there than outside the parks. Will this stop them from littering? Hardly. A much more effective solution would be a bottle deposit to encourage returns. The funds from unreturned bottles could be used for clean-up and disposal.

And so what if a bottle "didn't make it to a land fill"? Why do we have to "start somewhere"?

Thanks for the research, Lee! It is surprising how much this type of fixture costs. I wonder how long they last, and if the existing drinking fountains were worn out, and how often NPS press releases include cost details, or if Kurt usually edits that out?

Good point about offsetting the litter costs, dahkota.

Actually, ec, those folks who are dumb enough to drive without a safety belt or ride a motorcycle without a helmet are costing the rest of us. States that don't have belt or helmet laws have much higher insurance premiums for all drivers. If you live in a city without smoke detector laws, your home insurance premiums are higher. You say you don't want to force inconvenience on others, but apparently you're okay with letting them force extra costs on the rest of us.

Now, bottle deposit? Yes, yes, and yes. But the retail store lobbies have convinced our legislators that it's a bad idea and in Utah, at least, "recycling" is a dirty word on Capitol Hill because implementing it would cost some money or be an "inconvenience." (That word has been used in committee hearings on the subject many times.)

If we are going to try to look at cost/benefit, we need to be sure we are looking at all the variables and not just a select few.


States that don't have belt or helmet laws have much higher insurance premiums for all drivers. If you live in a city without smoke detector laws, your home insurance premiums are higher.


Could you document that?

Here, I will help - New Hampshire is the only state without a seatbelt law. It has the fourth lowest auto insurance rates in the country.

http://www.insure.com/car-insurance/car-insurance-rates.html

My insurance company asks if I have a smoke detector and adjusts my rate accordingly. I certainly am not paying for the lack of a smoke detector in someone elses home.

Of course this is off topic - but it demonstrates how you just make things up.


But the retail store lobbies have convinced our legislators


That would be relevant if the retail store lobbies set NP policy. The NPs could place a deposit requirement on their sales without the involvement of the retail store lobbies or our legislators.

"And so what if a bottle "didn't make it to a land fill"? Why do we have to "start somewhere"?!"

Hey gang! Since it mindlessly doesn't matter, EC volunteered to have everyone dump their empty plastic bottles in his back yard!

re: "Maybe the NPS is not quite as underfunded as they like to claim?" and "Not to mention the loss of revenue to the Park System by not selling bottled water."

It's important to note that this station was not funded by the NPS, but by the partner organization that also runs the bookstore. So, it didn't cost the NPS – or the taxpayers—a dime in either purchase of the station or lost revenue. As a result, it's hard to see why some folks are so negative about it.

An earlier comment claimed a "regular" water fountain would serve the same purpose, but not quite true. It's only possible to fill most water bottles part-way due to the angle you have to tip the bottle to fill it at a regular fountain. Not a big deal, but it's nice to leave with a full bottle before you head out into the heat at Lake Mead. So, this model is a nice convenience, at no cost to the taxpayer.

I don't know about the tradeoff in lost revenue from throw-away water bottles vs. gained revenue from sales of reusable water bottles by the bookstore, but there is at least some offset.

The discussion, as have previous ones on related topics, boils down to two different mindsets. Some believe even small steps to encourage people to switch to and use reusable water bottles are worthwhile not just for the short-term savings but because that may also encourage them to consider other ways of conserving resources.

The other group believes it's a waste of time and money to encourage people to conserve resources, whether it be landfill space, or the plastic water bottles themselves, or the raw materials and energy to make them, or anything else. After all, we have all we need today, so why bother?

That group is pretty well summed up by the comment: "And so what if a bottle "didn't make it to a land fill"? Why do we have to "start somewhere"?


or lost revenue.


How is banning the sale of bottled water not lost revenue?


The other group believes it's a waste of time and money to encourage people to conserve resources, whether it be landfill space, or the plastic water bottles themselves, or the raw materials and energy to make them, or anything else


Yes this is the group that doesn't succumb to every "chicken little the world is coming to an end" disaster story. This is the group that believes it is better to grow the pie than to make sure it is divided equally. This is the group that has faith in the ingenuity of man to expand his horizons. This is the group that understands things like fertilizers and genetic engineering can expose "the world will run out of food" as the poppy cock it is or that advanced drilling techniques can make fools of those that predicted "peak oil" would occur decades ago. These are the folks that want to address real problems with effective solutions not to chase windmills with "feel good" actions that have no real impact.

Nice post Jim Burnett, I think it makes a great gesture to have a place to refill your water bottles, and I think most people like the idea. I can tell you I just came off a Wildland Fire that maintained a camp for over 2000 firefighters for 14 days before we started winding down (containment of the fire), its hard to believe how many cases of water bottles ended up in the dumpsters. When I first started in Fire in 1960, we had canteens, well, times change. In any case I do agree with ecbuck on the issue of the need to institute a deposit, boy does that make a difference in the litter issue.

Thanks for pointing out my mistake about the funding source, Jim. Probably a senior moment; somehow, the next to last sentence just didn't register.

I know what you mean about clearance for filling water bottles. I was envisioning just adding a spigot on the line to the existing water fountain, but as I said, probably wouldn't save that much and might be too low or too high to satisfy ADA, some vandal would probably leave it on, etc. NPS restroom sinks used to be deep enough for bottle filling; I suppose they're trending towards shallow to discourage dishwashing (or worse).

Just for the record, I recycle as religiously as some might believe NPS press releases. I've never bought bottled water in my life. I strongly approve of conserving resources, most especially tax dollars. I just don't see much evidence the development faction in the parks feels that way.

And no offense, ec, but we differ on AGW and whether either political party would be any better at ending the pork barrel system. A pox on both their houses! Isn't money just a convenient symbol for resources, which are finite on this planet? I'm not so sure that pie can be grown much larger without further threatening our spaceship's life support systems. I suspect we are all lucky to live pretty close to 'peak pie'.

Tahoma,

My objection is not to the "station" (though your suggestions would provide a comparable and cheaper solution) but to the concurrent shut down of bottle water sales. I too recycle, I don't use bottled water personally on the trail and always come back with more in my pack then I left. That's what makes Lee's "entitlement" comments so funny. The fact is that this "water station" and the shut down of bottled water sales will have absolutely no impact on our "spaceship" but will inconvenience vistors and cost the park revenues.

We certainly can differ on AGW - I'm not sure we differ on pork. It (and pandering for votes) unfortunately is a disease of both parties. Only an educated voter base can fix that and if there is anything shrinking, it is an educated voter base. But then when the trend is to give out freebies, why worry about being educated.

We also differ on your fatalistic view of our future. I have far more faith in the strength of our spaceship and believe in the future, as in the past, the dire forecasts of doom will prove to be ill founded. There is plenty of room for the pie to be expanded.

Ec asks, "And so what if a bottle 'didn't make it to a land fill'? Why do we have to 'start somewhere'?"

One good answer can be found in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where the highest piece of terrain for miles around is the 60-foot high "Mount Trashmore," a now-closed landfill that covers 165 acres of what would otherwise be prime real estate alongside I-264. Wonder how many homes or businesses could have been built on those 165 acres – and contributed to the economy through jobs and and an expanded tax base?

Mount Trashmore no longer accepts trash – it's long since maxed out, so the city had to open a new landfill to tie up some additional real estate. That's part of the reason the monthly trash pickup bill residents and businesses pay to the city (some might even call it a "tax") more than doubled between 2010 and 2013. According to a city councilman, the increase was due to increasing costs for trash disposal.

That same story is repeated in plenty of other locations around the country. Some would suggest that the rise in such taxes – and the loss of land that would otherwise be revenue-producing—could be slowed if we would just try a bit harder to reduce the amount of garbage that ended up in landfills, and therefore extended the life of existing sites for our trash.

Ah, but that would likely just be "chasing windmills with 'feel good' actions that have no real impact."

Thats right Jim, there is no land in Virginia any more. LOL

If that land had a higher and better use - then someone would have paid more for it and it would have been put to that use - unless of course the government got in the way. The fact is the people that are dumping trash are paying to dump trash. They have deemed that a reasonable cost.

Not to mention - the innovation of man is turning many of the landfills into new useful real estate.

Like parks:
http://ci.champaign.il.us/departments/planning/long-range-planning/reseeding-tomorrow-landfill-reuse-park-plan/

Solar electric plants:
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/05/19/landfill-sites-find-reuse-as-locations-for-solar-electricity-plants.html

And even your example - Mt Trashmore - now a skate park
http://earth911.com/news/2012/10/30/building-on-former-landfill-sites/2

Quit being such a pessimist. Think positive and positive things will happen.

Last year the town I lived in purchased more than 19,000 96 gallon recycle bins and gave one to each household within town limits. The cost was about $750,000 or about $40 per can. In the first year, the residents of the town recycled over 9800 tons of trash. The savings to the town was $550,000 in landfill fees. So, in two years, the cans will pay for themselves. Regular trash days are now much lighter, allowing the trucks to cover more territory. This allows for the recycling day pickup without costing the town more for additional trucks and manpower.

Our entire town started "somewhere." And it is having a positive effect on the environment and the town coffers over the long run. Yes, it is a little inconvenient, but it is obvious that most of the town doesn't mind. And it does have an impact on our "Spaceship;" there will be a little more space in it tomorrow.

As for stopping littering, I fully believe the best way to change people's behavior is to make them aware of it. If using a recyclable water bottle and filling it up at a water station makes one or two or a hundred people aware of a litter problem and aware of a need to recycle, we have won. And by the way, we are not doom and gloom people. In fact, we are the exact opposite. We just disagree with you on how to get there.

That's interesting dahkota. In my town, recycling is voluntary. If you want the trash company to pick up your recycling in a separate recycling container you pay extra - and it ends up getting thrown in the the dump. But people feel good because they "recycled". I suspect your town is doing the same. They "saved" $550,000 in landfill fees but God knows how much they spent in "recycling" fees. If there is such money in recycling, why is the country not covered by commercial recycling operations?


If using a recyclable water bottle and filling it up at a water station makes one or two or a hundred people aware of a litter problem and aware of a need to recycle, we have won.


Won what? Making you feel better? Making one or two hundred people out of billions hasn't accomplished a thing.

I just Googled commercial recycling and new recycling businesses and found some interesting stuff.

http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/nonhaz/municipal/index.htm

http://greenliving.lovetoknow.com/United_States_Recycling_Statistics

http://deq.mt.gov/Recycle/recycling_statistics_Page.mcpx

One of the most interesting was this one -- which points up business and job opportunities involved in recycling:

http://www.ilsr.org/recycling-means-business/

There are literally hundreds of sources dredged up by a simple Google search. But as in anything, there will be people who get aboard and prosper; others whose lives will benefit from the efforts of those who got aboard; those who will stand by and watch while they wonder what the heck is happening; and others who will miss the boat entirely as they try to protest against an idea they can't seem or won't try to comprehend.

Jim, I can remember when I was hired as trails laborer in 1960 for the NPS on a trail crew in Yosemite National Park. The first thing we were assigned to do was backfill the trails on the Valley Floor by shoveling the dirt from the outside of the trail back into the center. We were issued tools and if you broke one, the most common being the shovel handle by using it to pry with, you were charged for new one,. It did not take long to learn to use tools properly and learn to care for all the equipment assigned. I disagree with EC on this point, everything we do to care for resources, be it the equipment on the job, our own homes, etc. pays off not only in savings and appearance but in reducing the wasteful and consumptive practices that exist both in the public and private sector (including what we are throwing away). This small gesture at Lake Mead is an excellent step forward.

Lee,

Not sure what your point was. I recyle. I don't pay extra to the trash company, I drive it to the local recycling center. Makes me "feel good" at no one else's expense but I do question the value. If recycling is actually a more efficient use of the resource, why would I have to pay more to my waste company for separate "recycling" when I can put the same items in my trash at no additional expense? Fabricated jobs???

But then, this thread isn't about recycling. It is about the choice of buying bottled water.

Oh, and tell us again about those higher insurance cost in non-seat belt states.


Ec, re insurance rates and seat belt usage, rates for those ticketed for not wearing a seat belt could see their rates go up:


But that is totally different from Lee's fabricated claim that insurance rates are "much higher" in states without seatbelt laws - which was demonstrably false.

PS - Welcome back - looks like you had a great trip.

I was going with what my insurance agent had told me. So I called her to clarify. Insurance rates are higher in states -- like Utah -- where failure to wear a safety belt is a "secondary offense." That means an officer may write a ticket only if he has stopped the vehicle for some other violation. Insurance companies also look at enforcement rates in a state. Those that aggressively enforce enjoy lower rates. Safety belt use in only one of many factors involved in setting rates. Other things include vehicle safety inspections, volume of traffic, accident rates and so on. Rates may vary not only from state to state but from city to city within a state.

Apparently, if Utah were to change safety belt violations to a "primary offense," our rates would drop by 10% - 15%. Pretty significant, I'd say. The same sorts of things apply to motorcycle helmet laws, texting and using cell phones while driving, and other activities on our highways that cause larger payouts by insurance companies.

So, "fabricated" or not, I'll stand by the fact that we all pay for the slothfulness of others.

Contrary to your experience, the town recycling is not taken to the dump - hence the handfill savings. Additionally, while the city has provided the recycling cans, recycling is completely voluntary; we do not have city workers going through our trash to ensure that we are recycling. While you have to pay more, I pay no additional charges and soon the town will be spending less to provide the same services. I'm very sorry that your town/city does not not know an economically sensible way to recycle. For you to assume that every other juridiction is as mindless as yours is a generalization that does not stand, whether you accept it or not. We actually have a very large recycling company here that turns a tidy profit for its shareholders. Yes, it is a commercial venture and yes, their stock is increasing in value.

You don't understand the changes that individuals can make in the world, or believe that they are possible. I feel sorry for you. It is possible to change the world, one person at a time, but you have to start somewhere, with some person.

Recycling doesn't make me feel better, it reminds me that I am not doing enough. For every 96 gallons of recycling material I generate, I also generate about 50 gallons of trash. My family is working to minimize that even further, but it isn't easy. One or two or a hundred people is a start.

This "thread" isn't about the choice of buying bottled water; you are still more than welcome to buy bottled water all you want, just not in this particular location. This "thread" is about reducing the use of disposable plastic water containers to reduce landfill mass and littering.

dahkota - thanks for the insights into the recycling program in your town.

ec - If, in your town, customers pay an extra fee for curbside pickup of items intended for recycling, only to have those item end up in the same landfill as unsorted garbage, there's an word it that: fraud. Sounds like more oversight is needed of that operation, along with some penalties for those responsible.

Thanks again, Dahkota, for yet another in a long line of very insightful and excellent comments.

We're in a small town surrounded by National Park and National Forest lands, 8 miles from Canada. A couple of items [glass and aluminum] are recycled by the town, with most other things going into our incinerator. Our house is heated by a woodstove, so many burnable trash items go there. In our town there is an active committee of both citizens and municipal employees working on increasing the in-town recycling. Operating the incinerator is not cheap, and it needs to be rebuilt every few years. Most of us load up plastic and cardboard and and other items, and add a stop at the recycling cener to our next shopping trip in a town 100 miles away in the Yukon - every month or two.

Everyone has their own motivation for what they chose to do. Personally, I don't care who makes the pennies off of my recyling. I just want to lower my impact on the environment.


Contrary to your experience, the town recycling is not taken to the dump - hence the handfill savings.


Then please explain to me why my trash company charges me more if I seperate my recycle materials than if I just put it in the trash can. Obviously the "recycle" cost must exceed the landfill savings. Perhaps your "municpality" is subsidizing that difference, but the reality is recycling doesn't save money. Nor does it have a material impact on overall energy usage.

And stopping sales of water bottles at Mead has even less impact.


every other juridiction is as mindless as yours


Mindless it is, but not in the way you envision. Our Mayor is an avowed socialist and most of the city council plays along. They just "leased" 3 acres of prime real estate to a fly by night solar company for 50 years for $10 so that company could sell subsidized solar power to local residents where it will take 20+ years for them to recover their investment under the best of scenarios. So far they haven't fooled enough residents so the town is buying the bulk of the power. Mindless is right.


there's an word it that: fraud.


While there is some evidence that is going on, that was not the point I was making.

As a home owner, i have a choice. 1) I can throw everything in the garbage and pay a set monthly fee or 2) I can seperate out the recycle items. In that case I get charged for the same price for the trash PLUS a charge for the recycle. If recylce is cheaper and reduces landfill costs - why do I get charged MORE to recycle? We have commercial (and competitive) trash service so this is not a monopoly situation. It also isn't subsidized by the town so I suspect it is more reflective of the true cost of trash/recyle.

I don't think your insurance agent knows what he/she is talking about (or you just made it up again). Of the 16 states that have secondary seat belt laws - 10 are in the bottom half of auto insurance rate costs. The one state without any seatbelt law has the fourth lowest costs. Injury coverage is about 30% of my total premiums - and only that high because I have a very high level of coverage - nearly twice the minimum. To suggest that going from a secondary to a primary seatbelt law would cut those premiums in half is absurd.


Toss in a few bells and whistles and the cost becomes almost identical with the hydration stations:


Or, you could put in ten of these. Serves exactly the same purpose at less than 10% the cost.

http://www.faucetdepot.com/faucetdepot/ProductDetail.asp?Product=85882&AffiliateID=SingleFeed&utm_medium=shoppingengine&utm_source=shoppingdotcom

But then we wouldn't have the "bells and whistles". A park isn't a park without the "bells and whistles".

Why am I not surprised that EC would be against the hydration station.

Buxton - Because you would be wrong and obviously did not read the thread. I am not against the hydration station - though agree with tahoma's comments that a Park Service always crying poverty might want a less expension version.

What I am against is banning sales of bottled water which inconveniences visitors and cost the park service revenues.

Glad to have you clarify that you're not against the hydration station ... although that was hardly clear when you referred to it earlier as "More mindless "do good".

As to, "What I am against is banning sales of bottled water which inconveniences visitors and cost the park service revenues." Please at least get the facts right. As has been repeated at least twice above, this isn't costing the park service a penny in revenue.

The previous sale of bottled water, and the reusable water bottles which are being sold as an alternative, are handled by the cooperating association which operates the bookstore in the visitor center. Do you know how much revenue for that organization was lost from bottled water sales, compared to what was gained by sales of the reusable water bottles? I doubt it, and neither do I, but it's quite possible any "loss" of revenue will prove to be neglibible. Time will tell, but either way, this sales outlet is about more than just maximum profits.

The mission statement for the association says, " In partnership with the National Park Service since 1938, Western National Parks Association advances education, interpretation, research, and community engagement to ensure that national parks are increasingly valued by all."

I'd say fuding this hydration station, and making it easy for visitors to make the switch to reusable water bottles, is right in line with that mission ... and given that opportunity, continuing to sell throw-away water bottles when another option is readily available would be contrary to that mission.

As to the "inconvenience" to visitors, they have the option to buy a nice water bottle that is durable enough to be reused over and over, vs. a flimsy throwaway, and according to the article, the difference in cost is minimal. Refill the new bottle a couple of times, and from then on, the visitors are saving money with every use. Some of them may actually find they enjoy the switch, and the resulting savings in money that will result.

If people are truly committed to throw-away bottles, they are readily available not far away at a number of commercial sales locations, so why should the bookstore in the visitor center - whose mission is to help educate visitors about wise use of resources - be obligated to offer them?

I for one salute the Association for this program!

Excellent post, Mtnliving. But you forgot one small yet very important detail.

The little counter on the station seemed to upset ec, but it's really a very important -- and hopefully educational -- tool to try to show the public how much good such a small gesture as refilling a reuseable bottle can have on our tattered old world.

It must be tough to own stock in bottled water companies these days.


Glad to have you clarify


I guess you missed this coment by me two days earlier in the thread.

"My objection is not to the "station" (though your suggestions would provide a comparable and cheaper solution"


this isn't costing the park service a penny in revenue.


Bottled water is a high margin (80%+), high volume sales item. I have little doubt that the net profit of bottled water sales exceeds the profit on $2.99 reusable bottles. If they didn't, the concessionaire would have been unlikely to sell them in the first place. Concessionaires bid for NP concessions. Their bid is based on their expected profit. If that expected profit is lower, due to the ban of sales of certain items, their bid will be lower. That is lost revenue to the park.


Some of them may actually find they enjoy the switch, and the resulting savings in money that will result.


And that should be their choice to make - not one you make for them.


show the public how much good such a small gesture


So Lee - exactly how much "good" is it? What exactly did pouring 13,000 bottles of water accomplish? Not having 13,000 plastic bottles go to the dump? So what? I wish you people would put as much effort into real problems with productive solutions. Banning bottle water sales in a park addresses no real problem and provides no productive solution.

Ec - for someone so focused on the economic side of any issue, I'm surprised you're having such a hard time grasping the fact that there is no "lost revenue to the park" from bottled water sales in this situation. The cooperating association that operates the bookstore is not a concessioner, there is no bid or contract involved, and the park is not guaranteed a percentage of sales.

Cooperating associations do donate a portion of their receipts to the park for activities that would otherwise be unfunded or underfunded, so you would probably interpret that as a loss of revenue. However, since you've previously expressed disdain for activities such as interpretive programs and research, I doubt any reduction in those functions would be a big concern to you.

As yes, consumers still have complete freedom of choice about bottled water. They are free to buy them in plenty of nearby locations. That said, there's no reason the non-profit group running the bookstore should be obligated to sell this particular item.


so you would probably interpret that as a loss of revenue.


And why shouldn't I? The cooprating association generates revenues which go to the park. If they get less - the park gets less.


That said, there's no reason the non-profit group running the bookstore should be obligated to sell this particular item.


And I would be the last to insist on such an "obligation".