15% of Park's Total Waste Stream
March 21st, 2012 - The U.S. National Park Service announced today that it is eliminating disposable plastic bottles in another of its National Parks. On February 6th, 2012, Grand Canyon National Park eliminated the sale of water in disposable plastic bottles.
Today, Saguaro National Park joined a growing number of parks and universities no longer using vending machines to sell disposable bottled water or soda on site.
Saguaro National Park, located just outside the city of Tucson, Arizona, conducted a thorough analysis of the potential impacts of eliminating the sale of disposable bottled water and soda. Although Saguaro could eliminate up to 40% of what is currently recycled, it will also eliminate about 15% of the park’s total waste stream.
Water Bottle Filling Stations
The park's management determined that the more sustainable solution is to provide new water bottle filling stations for visitors to refill their own reusable containers.
“The use of disposable plastic bottles has significantly greater environmental impacts compared to the use of local tap water and refillable bottles”, said Superintendent Darla Sidles. “Implementing this action will help the park reduce its environmental footprint”.
Saguaro has no concessions operations and does not sell ready-to-eat food or drink in the park. The disposable bottled drinks were sold through four vending machines located at the visitor centers. The park will have the vending machines removed.
There are new water bottle filling stations located at each visitor center as well as the Rincon Mountain District bike ramada. Each visitor center will sell BPA free, reusable water bottles for as little as $1.99.
Saguaro purchased five water bottle filling stations. Three were installed at the east side visitor center and two were installed at the west side visitor center. There are also three water fountains available in the park.
About Saguaro National Park
Named for the saguaro cactus, the park protects the enormous cacti. Located on the edge of Tucson, Arizona, the park encompasses 91,445 acres divided into two districts. The Rincon Mountain District is located on the east side of Tucson and the Tucson Mountain District is on the west side of Tucson. There are picnic tables and hiking trails in both districts. Only primitive camping is available in the Rincon Mountain District.
For more information, visit the Saguaro National Park website.
Cover Photo: Hawk's Nest in Saguaro Cactus. Courtesy National Park Service