An estimated seven million plastic water bottles end up in Vancouver's landfill every year. ((CBC))

Vancouver city council voted Thursday to immediately eliminate bottled water for staff and council functions and eventually take it out of city concession stands.

The bottles will be phased out of all municipal facilities over the next few years. The move is meant to reduce environmental costs, cut solid waste and battle greenhouse-gas emissions.

"It's really important that we have people move over to tap water, which is the best water you can get," Coun. Tim Stevenson said Thursday night.

"It's not necessary to use bottled water, and we're trying to find alternatives for people and that, of course, will include other kinds of containers."

City staff will look at ways to increase access to tap water on city properties and to increase the number of water fountains in Vancouver.


Vancouver Coun. Tim Stevenson says council's decision paves the way to gradually eliminating bottled water from city property. ((CBC))

Council also recommended the Vancouver Park Board and the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) follow suit and stop sales of bottled water.

The PNE, organizer of Vancouver's popular summer fair, is opposing the recommendation, saying it would lose about $450,000 in annual sales revenue if it were to stop selling bottled water.

Refreshments Canada, which represents beverage manufacturers, distributors, franchise houses and industry suppliers, said banning bottled water won't necessarily reduce environmental costs.

"We'll have very little impact on the city's overall environmental footprint," said Justin Sherwood, president of Refreshments Canada.

Some Vancouverites said Thursday they welcomed council's decision.

"People can reduce the amount of water bottles they use by just reusing the water bottles that they have," Jenna Gill said.