War Against Water Bottles Prompts Sales Ban at Drake

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Plastic single-serving bottles filled with water will no longer be sold in most places on Drake University’s campus next fall after a successful student-led campaign to ban the convenient and popular items.

When classes begin in August, the private university in Des Moines may have the tightest restriction on bottled water sales of any college in the state, students said. Dozens of colleges nationwide in recent years have pursued similar bans.

To ease the transition, every new student will receive a reusable bottle that can be filled at “hydration stations,” customized fountains located around campus that make it easy to fill tall bottles.

Students worked for months to earn the support of students, faculty and administrators by highlighting the amount of water and energy needed to produce and ship drinking water, a product that pours from the tap at a small fraction of the cost.

“It seems like such a waste,” said Amy Duong, 21, a junior, who helped organize the campaign. “Why would you spend that much money when tap water (is so cheap)?”

Some students, though, are skeptical of the plan because of the convenience of disposable single-serving water bottles. The bottled water industry has used a similar message — their product offers easy access to a safe, clean, healthful product — to push back against rising opposition on college campuses.

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