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Drinking Water

Volume 472: debated on Tuesday 4 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with the House authorities on ceasing the use of bottled water on the Parliamentary Estate and providing tap water instead; and if he will make a statement. (187969)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his Department’s policy is on the use of (a) tap water and (b) bottled water; and if he will make a statement. (187970)

DEFRA’s policy on tap and bottled water was set out in a notice to staff published on 9 February 2007:

The Department is to stop supplying bottled mineral water for meetings in order to be more environmentally-friendly. Instead, as of 19 February 2007, covered jugs will be left in meeting rooms, for meeting organisers to fill up with tap water from the nearest kitchen point.

This measure is a commitment by DEFRA to sustainable development. The bottling process is resource intensive and uses energy that generates greenhouse gas emissions, through both manufacture and transportation. It also generates waste plastic and glass which will, at best, have to be recycled if it is to be kept out of landfill. Even the recycling process uses energy and has an impact on the environment.

DEFRA’s caterers will also remove bottled water from the hospitality menu.