At the most recent Dining Committee Meeting, dining’s Team Green gave a stimulating and informative presentation about how they have started the somewhat lengthy process of banning plastic water bottles on campus. The team members have conducted water taste tests, tested and collected data on water fountains in all campus buildings, and spoke to various students and student groups about their opinions on the ban. Not only do plastic water bottles take thousands of years to decompose, their production uses millions of barrels of oil, and about 3 times more water than the amount actually inside the bottle. In addition, 22% of tested water brands contain dangerously high levels of chemical contaminants.
To read more about the ban the bottle initiative, check out http://www.banthebottle.net/. Over 90 Universities and colleges have already been successful at banning the sale plastic water bottles on their campuses, and Team Green has been researching their methods, as implementation varies from school to school. The initiative certainly has its pros and cons, but when the floor was opened up for questions and comments, few students seemed concerned about losing the ability to purchase bottled water on campus. One student was incredulous that there were be any opposition, since as a whole it seems like a mainly positive initiative that will make the university more sustainable. When a senior student expressed concern over having to purchase unhealthy drinks in the event that she forgot her bottle, Team Green noted that there will always be loopholes; students can still buy a Venti plastic Starbucks cup full of water or fill a cup from the Pit. However, they hoped that by distributing reusable water bottles to students, that few will rely on these options. In addition, they stressed that all other drinks will continue to be available, including flavored water. If successful, the Ban the Bottle program will take effect in 2014.
Written by Leslie Wolf, Class of 2015