Ban on Plastic Bottle Sales at Grand Canyon Won’t Extend to Other National Parks

by Erica Peterson on February 13, 2012

The National Park Service has approved a ban on the sale of plastic water bottles in Grand Canyon National Park. But that doesn’t necessarily mean other national parks—like Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave—will adopt similar measures.

The new measure is part of the park service’s new plastics policy. It was instituted in December, and encourages parks to reduce and recycle plastic bottles. Grand Canyon is taking it to one extreme, but the superintendent of Mammoth Cave National Park says it’s not necessary here.

Superintendent Patrick Reed says his park is already going above and beyond to recycle its trash.

“We’re already doing a substantial amount of work here in recycling and have been recognized several times for environmental leadership here in the park,” he said. “We have a program that we’re very comfortable with here and has worked very well for us here in the park.”

Reed says Mammoth Cave already recycles as much as possible, including plastics, Styrofoam and cardboard. Reed says the park has partnerships with nearby private companies,

“We removed 31 tons of solid waste that was diverted from landfills that was recycled here in the park [in 2009],” he said. “And that included almost 4,800 pounds of plastic and an additional 58,000 pounds of cardboard.”

The National Park Service is leaving it up to individual parks and regional directors to determine if plastic bottles will be banned at any other national parks.

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