This bill would resurrect a 2011 ban on plastic water bottle sales on National Park Service (NPS) land that was rescinded in 2017. It would require the directors of each National Park System region to establish programs to recycle and reduce the use of disposable plastic bottles within each of their region’s NPS units.
- Not enactedThe President has not signed this bill
- The senate has not voted
- The house has not voted
House Committee on Natural ResourcesFederal LandsIntroducedSeptember 13th, 2017
- house Committees
What is it?
In-Depth: Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) introduced this bill to help combat the plastic waste problem by reviving the 2011 plastic ban:
“President Trump and Interior Secretary Zinke’s decision to overturn the common-sense plastic water bottle ban in National Parks is a clear reminder that this Administration will continually bow to the agendas of profit-driven corporations at the expense of our National Parks, wildlife, and environment…. We know that seventy percent of plastic water bottles find their way to landfills and waterways; and in National Parks, those bottles build up along trails and streams, harming our pristine sites and endangering the plants and animals that call them home. Our National Parks serve as shining examples for how to treat our planet, while allowing Americans and visitors alike the opportunity to enjoy our nation’s awe-inspiring natural heritage. Reinstating the sensible, flexible ban on the sale of single-use plastic water bottles helps ensure that these public spaces — from Yellowstone and the Everglades to Yosemite and Zion — are protected for future generations.”
This bill has 28 cosponsors, all of whom are Democrats.
This bill is supported by Food and Water Watch, the League of Conservation Voters, and the Palstic Pollution Coalition, and Corporate Accountability, among others. It is opposed by the International Bottled Water Association, which has argued that the NPS’ plastic water bottle ban was “seriously flawed,” noting that parks that banned water bottles still allowed sales of bottled sweetened drinks.
Of Note: If passed, this bill would revive a 2011 policy encouraging national parks to eliminate the sale of disposable plastic water bottles that was ended by the Trump administration in 2017. Of the Trump administration’s rescission of the ban, Rep. Quigley said, “It's an inconsistent message — it's hypocrisy, and it shows an extraordinary lack of ability to govern and insensitivity to an extraordinarily important issue in our national parks.”
In the time that the plastic water bottle ban was active, the National Park Service estimated that it saved up to two million water bottles each year, prevented 5,000 pounds of plastic from entering the waste stream, reduced plastic use by up to 111 million pounds, prevented up to 141 million tons of greenhouse gases from being emitted, and conserved a significant amount of energy and landfill space. These figures reflected the ban’s implementation at 23 out of 417 NPS sites.
When the Trump administration announced it was discontinuing the ban, Acting National Park Service Director Michael T. Reynolds said, “While we will continue to encourage the use of free water bottle filling stations as appropriate, ultimately it should be up to our visitors to decide how best to keep themselves and their families hydrated during a visit to a national park.”
Zion National Park in Utah alone eliminated the sale of 60,000 water bottles (representing 5,000 pounds of plastic waste) by installing bottle-filling stations and selling affordable reusable bottles in their concession stands.
Summary by Lorelei Yang(Photo Credit: yanik88 via iStock)