Course project report blog

Reuse or Rethink

The bottled water reduction effort.

Peter Beach

Bottled Water Reduction Efforts: in particular, pick up on efforts during the fall of 2015 to cut back on bottled water sales on campus. Promote hydration stations, propose new locations for hydration stations (for example, in athletic facilities where large amounts of bottled water are used, and other academic waterbottle use hot spots). Promote reusable water containers, and try and figure out how to get students to actively use them and not use plastic disposable water bottles.

The goal is to ban the distribution and selling of disposable water bottles on campus. This original goal was modeled after the Ban the Bottle campaign going on internationally, in high schools and universities. The focus of this goal changed when it did not appear to be economically feasible for Chartwells to do so right now. The ultimate goal is to raise awareness of how disposable water bottles are a waste of resources and also how they are ending up polluting the Earth’s environments world wide.

I intended to survey people around campus and attempt to identify prime locations throughout the school where hydration stations would be beneficial in reducing plastic bottle waste. In addition to that I am going to try and promote the use of nalgene bottles. I was thinking since the school usually gives out some free stuff to the incoming freshman a nalgene bottle would be cool. Also maybe some type of give way to the current students could get them popular. I will be in contact with Jerry Lherisson of WCSA regarding this project because I believe he will be able to help me move this along.

The idea for this project is one that was started last year by a student by the name of Olivia Lease. she really focused on trying to get the school to stop all sales of all bottled water. As I expected that was not, economically, or contractually feasible last year and it probably won’t be for a while. But what Olivia did instead was protest through raising awareness and stringing a bunch of collected bottles together and displaying them across campus. She then drew signs explaining how bad these bottles are to the environment.

One of the first thing I did was take a survey of anyone walking down the Jay who had a reusable water bottle, asking questions regarding the frequency of their water bottle use,  where they would like to see new hydration stations, and if they felt any new ones were needed. This gave me a good sense of where more hydration stations were needed. As I predicted people wanted to see one in the basement weight room at Edwards gym, as well as in the field house, University hall and also one down in Selby.  After getting a good idea of general areas where hydration stations could be useful I set out to see if it was possible for them to even be installed.

This is the water fountain I found in the basement of Edward’s around the corner from the weight room which from personal experience is a buzz kill to go to when you are in the middle of a lift. I can recognize that the water pressure is mediocre at best so I recommend that a hydration station be put into the actual weight room.

 

This is the only source of water I found in the field house. I feel like this is a prime example of why the school should put a hydration station here. I’m assuming that the water is from a hose right around the corner and it is not filtered or chilled like the hydration stations are. The school is probably also paying someone to fill them up occasionally. some final problems are that you can’t really drink out of them without a cup or a bottle and the water that drips out gets on the floor also resulting as a potential hazard for athletes and students training in there.

When I went down to Selby to scout locations for a hydration station a prime location to me would be under the home side bleachers. But I did think that it might not be safe to have it outside so that might present a challenge but i think is possible. the trainers room looked like it might be possible but I don’t think the trainers would be happy with a large amount to foot traffic into their office as shown by the “authorized personnel only” sign. I also think that a water fountain in the stadium might also have another benefit of keeping students hydrated on and off, the field such as drunken fans might benefit enormously from this in an attempt to sober them up.

These are the two water fountains I was able to find in University Hall, the top one is located in the basement and the lower one in on the second floor. the one is the basement is fine it’s just really out of they way, i’m assuming it is for administration and faculty. But the one on the second floor is alright it is just difficult to use (the knob is hard to grip and turn).

 

This water fountain in the science center is another example of weak water pressure.

This is the absolute worst water fountain I was able to find on campus and it’s disappointing because it’s in the science center and is one of the newer ones.

I then talked with  Jerry Lherisson president of WCSA about getting reusable water bottles for the students at a very discounted rate or for free. He encouraged me and explained that he thought this was a great idea and that the WCSA would most likely be able to help with this. I sent him a few mock ups of bottles which the school already sells just so it would probably be easier to get a bulk order of one of these because we already are buying them for the book store. I feel like this could really take off especially since the school has recently started to switch over from throw away food containers to reusable plastic food containers, it only makes sense that you would want to have a reusable bottle for your drinks as well.

 

I have been in contact with buildings and ground but they have been difficult to work with especially since the retiring of Dennis Wall, they have had to take on a lot of responsibility. They told me they would get back to me after the Thanksgiving holiday.

This whole investigation of the water fountains across campus gave me great insight into the fact that the school has some locations where they need new fountains, but in reality an even bigger problem is the ones we currently have. I would say that more than 50% of the fountain on campus have very low pressure and this leads to students only being able to fill up their bottles to around 25-40% full of water, due to the angle of the bottle when filling. So my conclusion is that in a combined effort of installing 3 new hydration stations, as well as fixing the current fountains with weak pressure would have a massive impact on the students perception of easily accessible water on campus. This along with the WCSA initiative to distribute reusable water bottles would have the largest impact on students throwing out disposable water bottles.

Contacts

Gene Castelli of Chartwells (Gene.Castelli@compass-usa.com)

Buildings and Grounds Maintenance and Service Building o: 740-368-3400 fax: 740-368-3498 e-mail: owubg@owu.edu

Jerry Lherisson of WCSA  (jglheris@owu.edu)

The Transcript (owunews@owu.edu)

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