Bottle fill stations keep students cool, green

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April 23, 2014

By Kristie Weiss

 

Students Allied for a Green Earth and other campus organizations are working to place filling stations throughout campus buildings to promote the use of refillable plastic water bottles over single-use bottled water.

Wesley Enterline, sustainability coordinator, and Cameron Barker, SAGE president, have taken the lead in bringing these filling stations to campus.

Barker is part of a “Take Back the Tap,” a student-run campaign with the goal of banning the use and sale of bottled water.

Many campuses already ban bottled water sales because it is designed to be a single use.

Barker said they are taking an educational approach to the campaign to inform the public and make people aware of the negative social, financial, environmental and health aspects that bottled water represents.

“After the ‘Take Back the Tap’ campaign started, we began advocating for more filling stations across campus to give students, faculty and staff access to a more convenient refillable water source in hopes that students will use their reusable water bottles instead of using bottled water,” Barker said.

Since the start of the campaign, Barker and the students involved have gotten 14 filling stations placed across campus.

“[Take Back the Tap members] have been vocal supporters of this rollout and have helped our department inventory current water fountain locations to provide feedback on where these stations could be implemented and have a higher impact,” Enterline said.

Hyland Hall, being a newer building on campus, has not yet received water bottle filling stations but will in the near future, Enterline said.  This building has water fountains that are different and more expensive then other buildings on campus.  The older buildings are getting more attention first to address their water quality issues.

“There is a lot of interest in getting them there because there is a lot of traffic in Hyland, and lines tend to form water fountains between classes,” Enterline said.

These water bottle filling stations can provide an alternative to using recyclable, plastic water bottles and an environmentally friendly solution.

If not recycled, plastic water bottles are harmful to the environment.

“If these filling stations provide an avenue to illustrate how wasteful bottled water is and that tap water facilities are not only more closely regulated and tested, then the filling stations are a worthwhile investment for an educational institution for a multitude of reasons,” Enterline said.

Enterline said water is a basic human need and should be considered a basic human right by any modern, democratic society.  These water bottle filling stations also are providing students, staff and faculty with a luxury-free filtered water.

This solution to water bottles does not just help environmentally but economically as well.  Water bottles are readily available, making it an easy way for people to spend and waste their money.  The water that is provided in bottled water is simply tap water, the same water that you would be getting from any other water source such as a drinking fountain, Enterline said.

Barker had one big message he wanted to send to the campus. He wants to “encourage others to not use bottled water containers like Aquafina and Ice Mountain to fill up at these stations.  These are one-time use plastic bottles. They are not meant to be used more than once.”

“Take Back the Tap” will sell aluminum water bottles for less than $5 in the next few weeks if students are looking for a low-cost option for reusable water bottles.

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