The city of Aspen is preparing to spend about $20,000 on reusable water bottles and another $9,400 on filling stations in an effort to promote the drinking of municipal tap water over the plastic-bottled variety.
City of Aspen environmental health staff will make a presentation at tonight’s Aspen City Council meeting updating their efforts in the “Aspen Tap” campaign, to which council gave the green light in March.
The city is planning to order 4,000 stainless steel water bottles at a cost of around $5 each. After giving away about 1,000, the city plans to sell the bottles at the Saturday Market for between $5 and $6, according to a city memo, and at local stores for around $10.
“Local retailers have expressed concern that by selling bottles for $5, or a similarly low price, the city will undercut local businesses’ sales efforts and will make local prices appear inflated,” says a memo from city environmental health specialist Ashley Cantrell.
The city expects to make about $15,000 back on its investment in the water bottles.
The city also plans to roll out specially-designed filling stations that would be strategically placed around town, where locals and tourists can fill up their water bottles. One such station would be placed near the restrooms at Wager Park; another at Conner Park, which is next to City Hall and the Saturday Market; and another station would replace existing drinking fountains at Rio Grande Park.
The filling stations would be equipped with consumption-monitoring meters to help city officials gauge the success of the program. The city also plans to ask local grocery stores for data on the amount of bottled water sold, and keep track of those estimates to see if they decrease with the new program.
The city takes its water from snowmelt-fed Maroon and Castle creeks, giving Aspenites one of the purest high-mountain water supplies anywhere.
The city also plans to “continue working with local grocery stores to develop a bottle and messaging campaign that could be available in the bottled water aisle at local stores.” The city hopes to one day have reusable bottles for sale in the grocery store in the bottled water aisle, alongside an Aspen tap filling station.
Aspen City Councilman Torre encouraged the city to get in the game of cutting back on bottled water after a January trip to the Caribbean left the councilman shocked at the amount of discarded plastic water bottles that were floating in the otherwise pristine blue waters. He initially encouraged city staff to research an outright bottled water ban.
The city, through its ZGreen events program, encourages events to cut back or eliminate bottled water. The city also is looking to eliminate bottled water from government meetings and conferences.
The city is eyeing more bottled water filling stations at the Aspen Recreation Center, the base of Smuggler Mountain Road, gondola plaza and the municipal golf course.
Source: Aspen Daily News