The students spoke and were heard. As of July 1st the University of Vermont (UVM) will no longer sell bottled water and offer more healthy options at vending machines campus-wide, according to a recent report. This will make UVM one of the first institutions in the nation to enact such a policy.
Over the past four years, UVM’s Vermont Student Environmental Program advocated for decreasing the purchasing of bottled water and discontinuing the selling of bottled water in general on their campus. More than 1200 student signatures were obtained backing this effort.
Bottled filling stations will be added to water fountains, supporting a BYOB – Bring Your Own Bottle – initiative created by two alumnae of UVM and a university-wide sustainable beverage system.
The change comes at the tail-end of a 10-year contract with the Coca-Cola Company; it is estimated that UVM produces upwards of 1.1 million used beverage bottles from Coca-Cola products annually.
Dr. Andrea Dietrich and Dr. Elena Serrano, faculty members of our Water INTERface program, agree with the use of bottle filling stations. Dr. Dietrich believes they are important to “[reduce] the number of containers sent to the landfill.” She added that “[h]ydration [s]tations where consumers can fill a variety of containers with potable, and monitored drinking water is a valuable service to society.” However, they both don’t necessarily agree with a total ban of selling bottled water. “[A] total ban seems extreme, especially if we are trying to encourage healthy beverage choices like water.” Dr. Serrano stated.
Here at VT, bottle filling stations have been installed in Burruss Hall and the GLC to reduce purchasing of bottled water, but do you think we need more stations across campus? Would you be more inclined to use them if there were more around?
Do you believe that banning the selling bottled water altogether is extreme? Is this something you believe VT should do?
I came across this news yesterday. I think that this is an interesting stance on water access as well as the battle against other carbonated beverages (NYC). I always BYOB and very rarely buy bottled water. Personally, I think it tastes bad. I’m not sure it is the government’s place to cease sales but I think a movement needs to start somewhere. If it comes in the form of a band based on a bill, then so be it. I think more water should be available though due to the ban like filling stations. I am a new(er) student to VT and greater appreciated the filling stations and I agree there should be more around campus. It is frustrating fighting a water fountain to fill a reusable bottle.
Thanks for the comment, Courtney. I totally agree with you…it has to start somewhere and having more designated “filling stations” across campus would be great. I was even thinking about a campus map with water fountains and filling stations for students and faculty.
I can’t seem to wrap my mind around a campus actually banning water sales. It just seems so counter-productive to completely ban bottled water in an environment that is making an effort to be health conscious. I believe UVM missed the mark with this policy. It makes sense to encourage the BYOB concept and I am definitely pro-water bottle filling stations. I would love to see more bottle filling stations here at VT. They are far more sanitary than water fountains and much more convenient.
Yup, I can agree Georgianna and questioned it, too. Will students just buy bottled soda or other beverages from local food markets/grocery stores instead?
I’m in the UK and involved in the vending industry.
Isn’t this bottled water ban to do with the non-green manufacturing methods with bottle production. As well as concerns with bottles going to landfill?
I apologize about not getting a response to you sooner; for some reason no notification came through.
I believe your questioning is correct in that it has much to do with the non-green manufacturing methods and where those bottle end up.
Thanks for the comment!