As of June 1, 2009, the Arboretum discontinued the sale of bottled water in the restaurant. Instead, we now offer visitors a choice of a free (compostable) cup or a minimal cost reusable bottle that can be filled with clean, filtered tap water widely available at the Arboretum. The Gift Store also will sell the reusable plastic water bottles (for roughly the price of a current bottle of water). Visitors are encouraged to bring their own refillable water containers from home.
A new Re-filling Station at one of the Arboretum Oswald Visitor Center's drinking fountains has been designed to easily refill a water bottle. As of April 2012, over 70,500 bottles had been refilled at this one water fountain!
The consumption of drinking water in disposable plastic bottles is a convenience that we as a society can no longer afford. Future generations will pay the price of our "throwaway" practices.
Here are some sobering statistics:
- Only 20 percent of plastic water bottles are ever recycled.
- It takes more than 300 years for plastic bottles to decompose in landfills.
- Americans have an insatiable appetite for bottled water. In 2006, the manufacture of water bottles for Americans required more than 17 million barrels of oil - enough to fuel more than 1 million U.S. cars for a year.
The Arboretum took this important step in June 2009 to coincide with the opening of the 2009 Summer Exhibition "Waterosity: Go Green With a Splash," which celebrated "fresh thinking" about the value of water and its vital relationship to people and plants.
One of the 10 juried art installations - "Take Back the Tap" - powerfully addressed the environmental consequences of plastic water bottles. This jumbo "walk-through" water bottle conveyed an unforgettable message, showing the amount of water bottles a family of 4 typically uses in a year.
The Arboretum is committed to sustainable practices and being a leader in the community on sustainable issues.