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[greenyes] Water Bottle Story on CNN, Monday, June 2, 2003
apologies for cross-postings

The California Department of Conservation's Water Bottle story will be on
CNN Headline News this afternoon starting at 12:40 PT, 1:40 PT and 2:40 PT.
This piece includes an interview with Darryl Young, Director of the DOC,
highlighting a potential environmental problem as billions of water bottles
are tossed in the trash instead of the recycling bin. 

After this story broke Wednesday, May 28th in the Los Angeles Times, this
issue has continued to gain national attention. We have attached the
original press release if you would like to gain recognition for this issue
with your local media. Please contact Mark Oldfield or Ed Wilson at the
California Department of Conservation at 916-323-1886 if you have any

New Report Cites Potential Crisis as Billions of Water Bottles Tossed In

SACRAMENTO, CA - An on-the-go society combined with masses of health
conscious consumers has turned the single serve bottle of water into a
national icon. Now, according to a report released today by the California
Department of Conservation, billions of these empty "icons" are causing
serious environmental problems.  
According to the report, more than 1 billion water bottles are winding up in
the trash in California each year. That translates into nearly 3 million
empty water bottles going to the trash EVERY day and an estimated $26
million in unclaimed California Refund Value (CRV) deposits annually. If
recycled, the raw materials from those bottles could be used to make 74
million square feet of carpet, 74 million extra large T-shirts or 16 million
sweaters, among other things. 
Instead, they are swallowing landfill space, increasing air pollution and
destroying the ozone layer. 
"The sight of a water bottle in someone's hand has become as common as a
cell phone," said Darryl Young, Director of the California Department of
Conservation. "In California, one is usually in the right, and the other is
in the left. What people don't realize is that these water bottles are
recyclable and have detrimental environmental impacts if thrown in the
With their popularity increasing and summer right around the corner, single
serve water bottles are poised to cause even greater environmental concerns
if recycling rates go unchanged. According to the report, only 16 percent of
polyethylene terephthalate (PET) water bottles sold in California are being
recycled. At that rate, the amount of water bottles thrown in the trash ten
years from now would be enough to create a two lane, six-inch deep highway
that stretches the entire coast of California. 
The bottles also present significant air pollution concerns as many are
incinerated with regular trash. Anyone who has seen a plastic bottle melt
knows of the toxic smoke and fumes it can create. These fumes not only pose
health risks, they create "green house gases" that attack the ozone layer. 
"What's most discouraging is that these empty water bottles can be recycled
and used for 
so many things," continues Young. "Recycled PET water bottles can be used as
raw material to make products like sweaters, carpet, t-shirts, and even
products for the home." 
Young feels the growing problem could be solved with a small amount of help
from consumers. "The real challenge is making people aware that their water
bottles are recyclable and convincing them to hold onto them until they can
be recycled - especially when it isn't always convenient. In the end, the
small extra effort could help avert a big environmental problem." 
Young encourages consumers to ask for recycling. "If your local gas station
or convenience mart doesn't offer a recycling bin, ask them to put one in.
If there's not a recycling program at work, start one up. Most important,
hold on to that container until you can recycle it." Consumers can call
1-800-RECYCLE (California only) or visit
<> to learn about the nearest recycling center
or how to start a recycling program at work. 
California is one of 10 states with a beverage container-recycling program
based on a minimum deposit or value placed on beverage containers. The
Department of Conservation administers the California Beverage Container
Recycling and Litter Reduction Act, which became law in 1986. The primary
goal of the act is to achieve and maintain high recycling rates for each
beverage container type included in the program.
Consumers pay CRV (California Refund Value) when they purchase beverages
from a retailer.  The deposits are refunded to consumers when empty
containers are redeemed through local recycling centers. CRV is also
refunded to those who operate curbside programs or pick up recyclables from
bins located in public venues such as parks, beaches and sporting events. 
In addition to promotion of the state's beverage container recycling
program, the Department of Conservation administers programs to safeguard
agricultural and open-space land; regulates oil, gas and geothermal wells in
the state; studies and maps earthquakes, landslides and mineral resources;
and ensures reclamation of land used for mining.

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