This week the City of Ketchum unanimously passed a resolution banning the sale and distribution of single-use water bottles at city-owned properties, facilities and events. The resolution also discourages the use of plastic bags, plastic ware and Styrofoam.

The adoption of this resolution furthers the city’s goal to reduce the amount of solid waste being generated by actively pursuing an supporting programs and activities that reduce the amount of waste which must go to the landfill. The city identified key reasons why single use water bottles should be banned. Those reasons include:

  • The bottles are rarely recycled and up to 80% of water bottles end up in landfills requiring more landfill space. Plastic bottles take an average of 450 years to decompose.
  • The production and distribution of plastic bottles adds greenhouse gases to the environment.
  • Excessive use of oil. Plastic is made from petroleum; 17 million barrels of crude oil are used annually in the production of disposable bottles.
  • 40% of bottle water comes from municipal water systems. Bottled water is no safer or cleaner than the municipal water in Ketchum.
  • Ketchum’s tap water is clean, safe, and tastes wonderful. It also come from a local source and is not imported from unknown destinations.

The city will be implementing alternative and creative solutions for supplying water, such as installing permanent water bottle filling stations and investing in mobile hydration stations at city facilities and events.

Looking at the bigger issue- as a nation we discard approximately 33.6 million tons of plastic each year (of which only 6.5% gets recycled). The rest ends up in landfills or finds its way into the worlds oceans. A recent study estimated that 250 tons of plastic are floating in the ocean right now.

So while it may only seem like a small step in Ketchum, these small steps are a big deal and help to raise awareness and create solutions to the problem. We applaud the City of Ketchum for taking on this initiative here at home to help address the global challenge.