Thursday, February 4, 2010

A blurb about bottled water....

It is the first day of session today and an AP reporter asked me about a bill I have (HF2512) about bottled water. We talked a little bit and I thought it would be mentioned as a short blurb on the back page of something, since we have a jobs bill, a bonding bill, General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC), etc. By 4:00 p.m. I started getting interesting e-mail about the bill because the AP put it on the wire and the Star Tribune website had a link on the front page. So to anyone interested for the rationale for the bill, here's some more info...

The text of the bill isn't exactly as clear as it could be, but here's the gist of it:

When state agencies buy bottled water in five-gallon jugs (something seen in many offices) it costs taxpayers about 80 cents to $1.00 per gallon. In contrast, tap water in Shoreview is about 80 cents per ten thousand gallons. An intern of mine last year calculated that even with a high-end tap filter to get out any sediment, hardness, etc. in the water, the bottled water still costs about five to ten times more. And one of the two vendors of bottled water to the state uses tap water anyway.

The bill says that state employees should be discouraged from drinking bottled water, but the intent is that our state agencies should move from bottled water to tap water or filtered tap water because it's cheaper. (If you want to bring or buy your own, go right ahead.)

This isn't something that ought to be in state statute, but I was trying to get people's attention that is this something that could save some money. Not a lot, but when we are going to be laying off state workers and all sorts of other public employees, it is something we should look at.

There are also some compelling environmental reasons for sticking to tap water, since it takes a lot of energy to transport bottled water everywhere, but that was not the impetus for the bill.