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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Opinion

University of Vermont ends the bottled water Dasanity


They say the greatest trick ever pulled was the invention of bottled water. In a sea of soft drinks and sugar-filled juices, bottled water is such a tempting buy for people looking to be healthier. But for a product you could get for free anywhere, you’re charged for a plastic bottle with promises of water from majestic springs or far-off mountains.

For students on campus running from one class to another, it’s a tempting way to stay hydrated, especially when the only other options are the dubious water fountains outside classrooms.

The University of Vermont has made a step to abandon using the plastic water bottle — banning it outright across campus.

The University of Vermont announced on its website, months prior to the end of its 10-year beverage contract, itwas going to cut ties with Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England. Starting this semester, retro-fitted refill stations will be available for students to fill their reusable water bottles. It’s a push originated by students to promote sustainability and environmentally sound habits.

It was an effort pushed by the students at the University who could no longer stand quietly by and who believed a ban would only solve the issue of plastic waste when simple recycling was not thorough enough.

The University promoted such green initiatives for a long time. With the end of the Coca-Cola sponsorship, it will branch out to local vendors and suppliers, promoting healthier options and local businesses.

While it appears like a very positive movement for the campus and an environmentally responsible measure, there is a brewing fear that this is a restriction upon the students’ freedom of choice.

Lobbyist Andrew MacLean, who represents the local water and soft drink distributors in Vermont, told National Public Radio he believed the effort would prove unsuccessful.

“The factors that will result in more materials getting out of landfills is going to be a cooperative effort promoting strong recycling,” MacLean said.

He believes the ban will only bring about friction between the two groups that need to work together to reach their goal.

The most important issue is in front of us is whether this ban could work here. It’s worth consideration, especially when one thinks about our water fountains and the strange gray substances clinging to the drains and the prospect of no longer having to see overpriced water bottles in vending machines and in the coolers of the campus convenience stores.

A pragmatic approach is what UH students would be the most interested in. Despite the growing green movement on campus, there is a question of cost and affordability.

The University of Vermont’s vice president of finance and administration, Richard Cate, said the University, to a degree, would replace the funds through contracts with various national and local contractors.

Students’ hydration needs are primarily met by the one-time purchase of a reusable water bottle.

Emily Evans, English and theater sophomore a Vermont, said she found the transition simple.

“I now have a Nalgene water bottle that I carry with me, and there are water refill stations all over campus, so it’s always easy to just refill my water bottle,” Evans said.

If the ban ushers in a trend of universities across the country, taking sustainable and environmentally friendly approaches to their waste, then we would be all the better for it.  Universities are meant to be a place of education, where we are finally transformed and presented as adults, and as such, should teach us to be responsible human beings.

“Already, UVM students have become so used to compost and recycling after their meals that when we leave campus, and recycling and composting isn’t an option, we feel out of place,” Evans said.

“This ban educates us as students and highlights how unnecessary bottled water is when we have tap water at our disposal.”

Patrick Larose is a creative writing sophomore and may be reached at [email protected]

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