Bottled Water Taboo at UK Government Meetings
LONDON, UK, March 9, 2008 (ENS) - The use of bottled water for meetings and other official business is to be phased out across the whole government estate. The new policy, announced Thursday, is expected to come into effect by the summer.

Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell has written to the head of every government department suggesting they should replace bought-in bottled water with tap water for all future meetings.

A number of departments have already stopped using bottled water for official meetings but the proposal is to extend the tap water only policy throughout all government departments.

Sir Gus said, "The Government is committed to sustainable operations across its estate and I have made this issue one of my key priorities for the Civil Service.

"Today's announcement is a small part of a much bigger program of action in this area," he said.

A number of government departments and agencies, including the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Defra; the Food Standards Agency; and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, have already made the switch from serving bottled water to tap water at meetings.

In 2006, the last year that Defra used bottled water, caterers supplied 12,600 bottles to the department.

The Office of the Cabinet Secretary said that tap water requires around 300 times less energy than bottled water for packaging and transport and does not leave plastic bottles behind for disposal.

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