Grand Canyon & Other Parks Can Ban Plastic Bottles

December 15, 2011

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- The Grand Canyon and other national parks can now stop selling disposable water bottles. The director had blocked the ban after conversations with Coca-Cola.

The National Park Service director claims reducing disposable bottles was always part of the Green Parks Plan.

Reports that Coca-Cola tried to influence the director spurred an online campaign. About 100,000 people emailed the park service to lobby the director to reverse his decision.

Coca-Cola contributes to the park foundation and supplies Dasani water to the Grand Canyon.

Park Service spokesman David Barna said Coke did not influence the director, but did bring the issue to a head.

Jude Joffe-Block
Disposable water bottles make up about 30 percent of the total waste stream at the Grand Canyon, according to the park.

"You might say, in a sense, Coke did everyone a favor by getting this issue out there now," Barna said.

The spokesman said the director wanted to issue guidelines, like having a sufficient water supply, before the Grand Canyon took the lead on eliminating the sale of disposable bottles.

As part of its green plan, the park service would minimize waste, convert to energy efficient lighting, boost recycling, compost and install solar panels before its centennial in 2016.