Yesterday, New York Gov. David Paterson joined a handful of governors who have signed executive orders to phase out the purchase and use of bottled water at state agency facilities. While Sip & Savor understands the governor's need to cut spending in light of budget woes, we have to admit that his stance on curtailing bottled water purchases due to their alleged environmental impact is not only misguided, but quite disappointing. (And maybe not the wisest time to be advocating the return of public water fountains while swine flu concerns are circulating?) We believe the rationale the governor used in making his decision are based on inaccurate or misleading information he's been given; and we believe the real reason he's doing this is for money for the budget.

We hope that the governor, and New York's leadership, are open to hearing the facts on bottled water and our industry. First of all, bottled water containers are 100 percent recyclable - how many consumer products can claim that? And despite critics' comments, the fact remains that they account for less than 1 percent of our nation's waste stream - and the oil used to make these containers represents less than one-third of one percent of America’s oil consumption.

Regardless, our industry cares about our products' containers - and where they end up. That is part of why we have a long-standing commitment to environmental stewardship - a record that is conveniently overlooked by some for political expediency.

Our industry continues to develop new ways to use less packaging materials - this is called lightweighting - and to use more recycled materials in new containers. So while we may be a small part of the problem, we're working to be a big part of the solution.

And our commitment doesn't end with packaging innovation. Far from it. We support community programs that make recycling of all recyclablesmore convenient for consumers. With our Full Circle Plan, we are a founding member of The Climate Group's 'Recycle Together' initiative, a new partnership to dramatically increase recycling as one way to reduce climate change and protect the environment. And we also are encouraging consumers to do their part to "Think Inside the Bin" by putting their empty bottles and cans in a recycling bin. If you want to learn more about recycling, check out our recycling issue site.

So what are the clear and simple facts?

• Our industry works hard to continually reduce its environmental footprint from every facet of our business, including our beverage containers.

• Bottled water containers are 100 percent recyclable and have a small and ever-reducing impact on the environment - facts that stand in contrast to the soundbite environmentalism often used by critics.

• Our industry works hard to conserve and protect our natural resources, such as reducing water usage and recycling.

So rather than single out one product for a money grab, let's all do our part to have a lasting and positive impact on the environment. If you grab a bottled water to drink around the office or on the go, when you're done, make sure to drop it in a recycling bin.

Together, we can all make a difference one bottle and can at a time.