Aspen ready to uncork reusable bottle campaign
ASPEN – A glance into Aspen environmental health specialist Ashley Cantrell’s office would suggest she’s thirsty. Really thirsty.But the dozen or so samples of reusable water bottles that she’s gathered from suppliers are contenders for the official bottle of what’s tentatively been dubbed the Aspen Tap Campaign – an effort to get consumers to eschew the purchase of water in plastic bottles in favor of refilling a reusable container.To be paired with the bottles will be four stations to be installed around town where the thirsty can refill their bottles with Aspen tap water.Most of the locales have been tentatively chosen, and a committee will debate the merits of the various bottle designs and choose a favorite before May 9, when Cantrell will look for a nod from the City Council to place an order for 5,000 bottles and move ahead with installation of the water fountains.The council has already voiced support for the program, an outgrowth of Councilman Torre’s call to ban the plastic bottles of water sold at grocery stores and other outlets. Elimination of the pre-bottled water isn’t feasible, Cantrell advised the council, but promoting the consumption of tap water is doable.Torre updated Aspen’s Commercial Core and Lodging Commission on the campaign last week, and said it appears the city can offer a stainless-steel water bottle for $5, or perhaps less. It will be less expensive than similar bottles typically sold by area retailers, he noted.Some CCLC members urged corporate sponsorships – businesses that get their names printed on the bottles in return for financial support – and Torre said he would be amenable to such an approach.”We’ll see what the council says about that,” he added.The bottles will be sold at cost, so the city doesn’t need the sponsorship, Cantrell reasoned.”I don’t think the council would be into that,” she said.The water fountains, including a traditional drinking fountain plus a separate spigot for filling water bottles, are slated to be installed at Conner Park next to City Hall, near the Aspen Skate Park, at the Wagner Park restrooms on the mall and at a fourth, yet-to-be-determined locale.The city’s Historic Preservation Commission will take a look at the fountain design and locations on Wednesday.The cost, $4,000 per station plus installation costs of $500 to $3,000 depending on the spot, will be paid through Water Department revenues, Cantrell said.The goal is to employ freeze-proof attachments that will allow use of the fountains year-round, but those attachments won’t be installed initially.”We want to see other cities try them first,” Cantrell said.If the council gives its go-ahead for the program, the goal is to debut it on June 18 – the date of the first Aspen Saturday Market of the season and the weekend of the Aspen Food & Wine Classic. The still-to-come fountain at Conner Park, adjacent to the market, will be the centerpiece of the launch.The bottles will be available for purchase at the weekly market, as well as at lodges and retailers around town that would like to sell them, according to Cantrell. She’d also like to see the bottles sold in supermarkets, next to the bottled water.The goal is reducing the use of the plastic bottles, which must be manufactured, filled (reportedly with tap water, in some cases) and shipped – an unnecessary use of resources, contend opponents of bottled water.And the contents of bottled water are not as regulated as municipal tap water, Cantrell added.”We just really want people to know bottled water is wasteful,” she email@example.com
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Aspen and Pitkin County have the largest black bear population and as such, are hoping for a big portion of a Colorado Parks and Wildlife grant to help educate and enforcement rules around securing trash.