The University of Vermont is the largest public university to enact bans on plastic water bottles on campus.
In an effort to reduce waste, save money and improve the environment, universities around the U.S. have begun to implement bans on plastic water bottles, embracing green water bottles instead. Recently, the University of Vermont became the largest public institution to outright ban plastic water bottles on campus. They join ranks of University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, University of Portland and Washington University in St. Louis which had previously enacted similar bans.
An empowered student body appears to be the critical element for environmentally responsible change on campus as most of these bans were directly related to student based organizations. For example, the University of Vermont, University of Wisconsin Stevens Point and the University of Portland implemented the plastic water bottle ban after pressure from student organizations demanded change. Reusable water bottles are catching on according to the recent UVM graduate Mikayla McDonald. She pointed out that “it’s much more convenient to fill up your water bottle at a water fountain than to buy bottled water.”
Niles Barnes who works with the Colorado-based Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education stated, It’s pretty interesting how quickly caught on campuses,” reinforcing how “the arguments, not just environmentally but economically, make quite a bit of sense”
Plastic water bottles have been linked to health problems such as obesity, hormonal issues and in some cases diabetes as reported in our previous article. This is due to synthetic chemicals, such as BPA, used in the production of these plastic containers. They are also known to contribute to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is a testament to the wasteful practices we have adopted.
By taking the advice these student advocacy groups have doled out, we can save some green while going green by simply using a reusable water bottle and filling up with tap water. In many cases you will end up with cleaner water and more cash in your pocket. Something I think we can all embrace.