Many new and returning students this August were greeted upon arrival to their dorms not only by smiling friends and hall staff, but also by brand new stainless steel reusable water bottles. With the help of the Office of Sustainability, which subsidized half of the cost, 20 of the 29 dorms on campus provided a total of 3,725 bottles to their residents. This means that over forty percent of undergraduate students were equipped with bottles.
“The bottles are a big hit.” said Andrew Aaronian ’14 of Fisher Hall. “I fill mine up several times a day.”
In addition to new bottles, Hydration Stations were installed on the first floor of all dorms that did not already have them. The stations are motion sensored and record how many plastic water bottles have been saved from each refill. Some dorms, like Fisher Hall, have already saved over 4,000 plastic water bottles from being thrown out.
“I love the Hydration Stations!” said Angelique Laboy-Coparropa ’14 of Lyons Hall. “I can fill up my new, free water bottle. I’m saving money, I’m saving time, and I’m saving the environment!”
With these new reusable bottles, the number of disposable plastic water bottles thrown away on campus is expected to decline. In 2008, Americans purchased over 8.6 billion gallons of bottled water, according to the Beverage Marketing Corporation. And of all these plastic bottles of water, not many of them are recycled. According to the Government Accountability Office, about 75% of all disposable plastic water bottles end up in landfills.
“There are so many benefits to avoiding bottled water,” said Myles Robertson in the Office of Sustainability, who coordinated the group purchase of the custom bottles among the dorms. “You save all the energy and water that go into making disposable bottles, you avoid the pollution from trucking all those bottles of water around, and your money doesn’t go to support the privatization of municipal water supplies. Everybody wins.”