Defra's policy on tap and bottled water was set out in a notice to staff and 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 , 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”.
Prior to this date and from information held centrally, the value of mineral water supplied to the department, over the specified period, is tabulated below.
Year 2005 2006 2007 Total Cost Per Annum £18,699 £24,744 £3,392 £46,313
Cost Per Annum
Bottled water for meetings was sourced from a variety of contracts and not accounted for separately, so the information could only be provided at a disproportionate cost. The department stopped the provision of bought-in bottled water for meetings from mid-July 2008 following a request to all government departments to cease the provision of bottled water for meetings.
The department has expended the following sums on providing bottled water in each of the past five years:
2004 not available 2005 £93,089 2006 £105,722 2007 £108,752 2008 £49,766
Reduction in expenditure during 2008 has been achieved by the introduction of bottling the direct water supply to departmental buildings which is presented to meetings in flasks provided for this purpose, thereby reducing cost, delivery mileage and emissions.