Bottles suffer blow as colleges begin to ban them

As Vancouver Island University prepares to ban bottled water from its campuses, here's a look at how SU battles the bottle.

Vancouver, BC is known for Hollywood movie-making and “BC Buds.” Add to that list the move to ban unsustainable uses of non-renewable resources like plastic.

This past month, Vancouver Island University (VIU) announced it would become BC’s first college to ban bottled water from campus. “Ban the Bottle” will likely start by next June, but 86 percent of the campus community are already giving bottles the shaft.

VIU will likely save 18,000 plastic water bottles every year from contributing to land fills and other forms of pollution. And instead of wallet-draining vending machines, the college has already begun to install bottle-filling stations, known as goosenecks. 

How would Syracuse University fare in this? The New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) at SU announced a study on phasing out water bottles, but hasn’t released any results yet.


Melissa Cadwell, marketing manager of the Sustainability Division of Energy Systems and Sustainability Management at SU, says Syracuse is more focused on encouraging reusable bottles than banning disposable ones. For the past several years, every incoming freshman has received a reusable water bottle from Residence Hall Association.


Last year was “The Year of Water.” Throughout the year, the sustainability department held water taste tests, where the majority of participants preferred tap and filtered tap water to Dasani bottled water, according to Cadwell. 


And why not? The Syracuse community is lucky enough to get drinking water from Skaneateles Lake, one of only a handful of water sources clean enough to be unfiltered.


As for this year? Well, it’s on to “The Year of Recycling” for SU. But fear not, while food scraps and bottle caps are on the agenda, Cadwell hints at SU’s plan to make it easier for people to swig from their SIGGs. While Archbold Gym and Bird Library are two of only a few locations to feature goosenecks, more are likely to come.


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