in individual disposable containers within 30 days under a plan approved today by National Park
Service (NPS) Intermountain Regional (IMR) Director John Wessels. Free water stations are available
throughout the park to allow visitors to fill reusable water bottles.
The park’s plan calls for the elimination of the sale of water packaged in individual disposable
containers of less than one gallon, including plastic bottles and various types of boxes. The waste
associated with disposable bottles comprises an estimated 20 percent of the park’s overall waste stream
and 30 percent of the park’s recyclables.
Grand Canyon National Park’s plan was submitted and approved in accordance with the policy issued
by NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis on December 14, 2011. Under the policy, parks are directed to
implement a disposable plastic water bottle recycling and reduction policy, with an option to eliminate
in-park sales – with the approval of the park’s regional director – following a thorough analysis of a
variety of factors ranging from the cost to install water filling stations, to the cost and availability of
BPA-free reusable containers, to potential effects on public safety.
“Our parks should set the standard for resource protection and sustainability,” said Regional Director
Wessels. “Grand Canyon National Park has provided an excellent analysis of the impacts the elimination
of bottled water would have, and has developed a well-thought-out plan for ensuring that the safety,
needs and comfort of visitors continue to be met in the park. I feel confident that the impacts to park
concessioners and partners have been given fair consideration and that this plan can be implemented
with minimal impacts to the visiting public.”
Grand Canyon National Park has experienced increasing amounts of litter associated with disposable
plastic bottles along trails both on the rim and within the inner canyon, marring canyon viewpoints and
“We want to minimize both the monetary and environmental costs associated with water packaged in
disposable containers,” said Grand Canyon Superintendent Dave Uberuaga. “We are grateful to the
Director for recognizing the need for service-wide guidance on this issue and for providing a thoughtful
range of options.”
“A lot of careful thought went into this plan and its implementation,” said Director Jarvis. “I applaud
Grand Canyon National Park for its efforts to reduce waste and the environmental impacts created by
individually packaged water. This is another example of The National Park Service’s commitment to
being an exemplar of the ways we can all reduce our imprint on the land as we embrace sustainable
practices that will protect the parks for generations to come.”
To view a copy of the servicewide policy on reduction of disposable plastic bottles in parks, go to www.nps.gov/policy/plastic.pdf.