Photo credit: Dsw4

National Park Service Ends Plastic Water Bottle Ban

The prohibition on plastic water bottles is over. Throw-away bottles may go back on sale at prominent parks immediately.

National Park Service Ends Plastic Water Bottle Ban
Photo credit: Dsw4

The National Park Service rescinded its “Water Bottle Ban” last week. It cited support for “visitors to decide how best to keep themselves and their families hydrated.”

Dubbed Policy Memorandum 11-03, the ban went into effect in 2011. It was an effort to reduce litter and encouraged national parks to halt the sale of bottled water. It did not stop the sale of soft drinks or other beverages in plastic bottles.

By discontinuing the policy, national park sites are now free to sell plastic water bottles.

Water Bottle Ban At National Parks

According to a news release from the NPS, the memorandum was inherently flawed because it “removed the healthiest beverage choice at a variety of parks while still allowing sales of bottled sweetened drinks.”

Following the ban’s passage, 23 of America’s 417 National Park Service sites halted bottled water sales. Sites include everything from national parks to historic battlefields and national scenic trails.

The Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, Zion, and Bryce Canyon were among the most prominent that prohibited water bottle sales.

Environmental groups decried the move to reinstate bottles as “industry-oriented” politics.

“The reversal is but a symbol for this administration’s larger attacks on environmental safeguards and protection of public lands,” said Athan Manuel, public policy director for the Sierra Club.

The reversal went into effect immediately. But national parks will continue to urge visitors to pack in their own bottles and use refill stations there.

Adam Ruggiero

Adam Ruggiero is an all-sport activity junkie - from biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming. If it's outside, it's worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.