Aspen trashes plastic bottles, trumpets tap water

By Troy Hooper
Real AspenJuly 1, 2011
Picture a pristine creek trickling over rocks as it meanders its way down a forested mountain. Then imagine scooping its water with cupped hands on a hot summer’s day and feverishly swallowing it down. Or better yet, walking into a cosmopolitan city and simply filling your water bottle with it.

The latter is what’s happening in Aspen, where city officials have just unveiled three bottled water filling stations in an effort to cut down on waste, lubricate its populace and highlight its top-shelf H20.

Backing up its “Better Than Bottled” slogan, the folks at City Hall even went so far as to conduct a taste test this week where 9 out of 10 people randomly surveyed chose Aspen’s tap water over the pricey Fiji bottled water — a business that actually started here in the Roaring Fork Valley — and Coca Cola’s Dasani bottled water.

Aspen’s tap water tasted better, smelled superior and quenched their thirst with a higher degree of satisfaction than their commercial counterparts, the respondents reported, according to city officials.

Three water filling stations have been set up downtown: One at the corner of Cooper Avenue and Mill Street, another at the intersection of Hopkins Avenue and Galena Street and a third at Rio Grande Park.

Aspen Councilman Torre

The water is free and locals and visitors are encouraged to use the stations to fill up their own water bottles or to buy one of the 4,000 stainless steel bottles for $10 that the city ordered and is retailing at Aspen Saturday Market, Ute Mountaineer, Aspen Velo, Aspen Recreation Center, Main Street Bakery and Aspen Center for Environmental Studies. The city is also giving away 500 bottles at no charge.

The campaign comes courtesy of Torre, a single-named tennis pro and Aspen city councilman, who went sailing in the British Virgin Islands last year and grew disenchanted by all the plastic water bottles he saw floating in the sea. When he returned to Aspen, Torre called on the city to combat plastic waste.

Aspen’s tap water, which comes from Maroon Creek and Castle Creek, has a healthy alkaline effect on the body with a PH of between 7.8 and 8.3. Its total dissolved solids average 330 milligrams per liter — more than brands like Fiji, Evian and Arrowhead. Total dissolved solids, which are the sum total of minerals in the water, help give waters a distinctive taste.

Here are some of the ugly facts about commercial bottled water that the city of Aspen is calling out:

- Bottled water creates unnecessary waste.
- Uses large amounts of energy to package and ship.
- Is not as highly regulated as local sources.
- Each year more than 4 billion pounds of plastic bottles end up in landfills or as roadside litter.
- Making bottles to meet Americans’ demand for bottled water requires the equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of oil last year – enough fuel for more than 1 million U.S. cars for a year – and generates more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide – the same amount of carbon dioxide that would be emitted by over 400,000 passenger vehicles in one year.
- According to the National Resources Defense Council, in a scientific study in which more than 1,000 bottles of 103 brands of water were tested, about one-third of the bottles contained synthetic chemicals, bacteria, and arsenic.
- Water is a $400 billion dollar global industry, the third largest behind electricity and oil.
- For each gallon of water that is bottled, an additional two gallons of water are used in processing.

comments: 1 Comment on "Aspen trashes plastic bottles, trumpets tap water"

Boo – July 02, 2011, at 7:19 a.m.

Cheers to Torre ... !

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