New Policy Proposal for the Banning of Single Use Plastic Water Bottles in Public Institutions

New Policy Proposal for the Banning of Single Use Plastic Water Bottles in Public Institutions

Statement of Issue

Plastic pollution has emerged as a pressing environmental challenge, negatively impacting ecosystems and human health. Single-use plastic water bottles contribute significantly to this issue, generating substantial waste and harming marine life. In areas where natural beauty and sustainability are integral to the region's identity, addressing this concern is paramount.

Plastic pollution, especially from single-use plastic water bottles, poses a grave threat to our environment and health. This proposal seeks to ban the sale and distribution of such bottles in public institutions and events. By adopting this policy, we can significantly reduce plastic waste, promote the use of sustainable alternatives, and underscore our commitment to a cleaner and healthier future.

Plastic pollution has escalated into a global crisis and its impacts affect everyone. Annually, millions of single-use plastics contribute to waste that litters our streets, clogs our waterways, and endangers wildlife, making up 70% of all marine litter in the European Union. In addition to the environmental effects, this issue also permeates the economy. Each metric ton of plastic pollution costs a local economy around €30.000, reducing ecosystem services by up to 5%. This policy proposal aligns with our commitment to environmental sustainability and safeguards our region's natural beauty for future generations.

Overview of Proposed Policy

The primary objective of this policy proposal is to eliminate the sale and distribution of single-use plastic water bottles in public institutions and events throughout the Barcelona area. By doing so, we aim to mitigate plastic pollution, encourage the use of reusable water containers, and shift public perception towards tap water as a safe and viable option.

The proposed policy mandates the cessation of the sale and distribution of single-use plastic water bottles in public institutions and events. To ensure convenient access to drinking water, water bottle refill stations will be installed in all public buildings, accompanied by the promotion of tap water consumption.

The implementation of this policy is projected to yield significant positive outcomes. Not only will it substantially reduce plastic waste, but it will also foster a culture of responsible water consumption. By embracing tap water as a primary source of hydration, we can diminish the demand for bottled water, thereby lessening the environmental strain of plastic production.


Stakeholders encompass public institutions, event organizers, citizens, and the environment. While public institutions may face initial transition challenges, they will contribute to a sustainable future. Event organizers will help reduce waste, citizens will enjoy cleaner surroundings, and the environment will benefit from reduced plastic pollution.

Resource Requirements

The initial financial investment required for the installation of water bottle refill stations and infrastructure development is estimated to be between €1800 and €8200 per fountain plus the cost of installation. Funding can be sourced from government allocations, private partnerships, and community grants. Over time, the reduction in plastic waste and associated costs will yield economic and environmental benefits.

While other alternatives may exist, banning single-use plastic water bottles in public institutions and events presents the most comprehensive and impactful solution. This policy not only addresses the root cause of plastic pollution but also encourages a shift towards a more sustainable and responsible water consumption culture.

Implementation Plan

Research and Planning: Conduct feasibility studies and identify suitable locations for refill stations.

Installation: Begin installing water bottle refill stations in high-traffic public buildings.

Promotion: Launch a public awareness campaign emphasizing the benefits of tap water and reusable containers.

Expansion: Gradually extend the installation of refill stations to all public institutions and events.

Monitoring: Continuously monitor waste reduction and the adoption of sustainable practices.

The main challenges lie in the initial financial investment required for water bottle refill station installation and infrastructure development. To mitigate these challenges, phased implementation can be pursued, allocating resources in a manageable manner. Public awareness campaigns can also help build support and ease the transition.

Case Study

In 2014, San Francisco, California, enacted a successful policy to ban single-use plastic water bottles under 21 ounces on city property. This move aimed to combat plastic pollution and promote sustainable practices. The city engaged stakeholders, conducted public awareness campaigns, and installed water refill stations, effectively reducing plastic waste, encouraging reusable bottle use, and achieving cleaner public spaces.

San Francisco's initiative showcased the power of collaboration and targeted action. By partnering with local businesses, educating the public, and providing convenient alternatives, the city successfully decreased plastic bottle consumption, fostered eco-conscious behavior, and contributed to a cleaner environment.

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