It's happening all across the U.S., from Seattle to Cambridge, Mass., at small colleges and huge universities. To date, more than 90 schools, among them Brown University, Seattle University and Harvard University are banning the sale or restricting the use of plastic water bottles on campus.
This fall, freshmen can expect to receive stainless-steel bottles in their welcome packs along with a map of the campuses' hydration stations where free, filtered water is available. Harvard, Princeton and Dartmouth College have all recently installed “water bottle-filling stations” or "hydration stations" to provide people on campus with access to filtered water and eliminate the need for disposable bottles. The University of Vermont is the latest to join the movement, announcing in January it would stop sales early next year.
In addition to the flat-out bans, a number of schools are reducing or restricting the sale of bottled water on campus. Cornell and Yale both have reduction campaigns in effect, and the University of Pennsylvania encourages administrative offices to use hydration stations rather than bottled water.
As you can image, the $22 billion retail packaged-water industry in the U.S. is not thrilled with this movement to ban plastic water bottles on college campuses. They've upped their marketing efforts in college towns, stating that bottled water is a safe, convenient product that is "one of the healthiest drinks on the shelf" and that its packaging is recyclable.
But college students aren't buying it.
Does your college ban bottled water on campus?