ARLINGTON, Va. – It takes 17 million barrels of oil to produce bottled water each year. That’s part of the argument an Arlington County Board member will use in his campaign to cut down on plastic bottles and bags.
Jay Fisette, who was just elected vice chairman of the Arlington County Board, says since attempts to get permission from the state to ban, restrict or tax bottled water and plastic bags have failed, he will try a new tactic.
“I’m not going there because I know it’s not going to happen in this General Assembly or this administration,” says Fisette, referring to two failed attempts to get legislation passed in Richmond.
In Virginia, local governments don’t have the authority to regulate or tax products without approval from the General Assembly.
Fisette says he will try an education effort instead.
“I will work up a very serious campaign or crusade that will take root,” he says.
He says unlike tap water, the quality of bottled water isn’t regulated.
Fisette says only about 20 percent of plastic bottles are recycled. The rest end up in landfills or incinerators.
As part of his campaign, he has cited these statistics:
The cost of a bottle of water is more than 1,000 times the cost of tap water.
It takes 700 years for bottles to start to decompose.
Bottled water is two to four times the cost of gasoline.
His call for residents to cut down their use of bottled water received nods of approval from the other board members when he presented the idea during the board’s traditional reorganizational meeting on New Year’s Day.