In August, the city of St. Louis joined one of a very few others around the country to ban bottled water in government offices. But according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Four months later…bottled water is hardly a scarce commodity at City Hall. Just visit one of the building’s vending machines. Or even the cafeteria.
So where’s it coming from? Out of the pockets of some city employees – and, oddly, with city funds. The reason?
Unlike city tap water, the mayor’s control over other city departments is a tad murky. St. Louis’ fractured government structure means that many City Hall departments are out of the mayor’s reach, including the Board of Aldermen and the Police Department.
In some cases, his “order” is more a suggestion.
Take the police department. It spent $795 for bottled water, for a good and obvious cause: to give officers something to refresh themselves as they stand in fixed positions for hours at a time. “The least we can do is give them something to drink,” a police spokesperson told Post-Dispatch reporter Jake Wagman.
Moral of this story? Ban it, tax it, do whatever you want to it. But when consumers want a healthy beverage option, they’re still going to find a way to drink bottled water.
It’s better than some other alternatives.