Ryerson pulling the plug on water bottle sales by 2013

March 22, 2010 No Comments »

Bottled water is being phased out at Ryerson University after the signing of the Ryerson Water Declaration.
The pledge has Ryerson committing to remove the sale of bottled water from their campus by 2013.
“Ryerson administration has a three-year plan in place to make sure all water fountains are working,” said Andrew McAllister, founder of the Green Action Group, an environmental group at Ryerson. “At that time, bottled water will no longer be available.”
The declaration was signed on March 11, 2010, which was also Canada’s first Bottled Water Free Day.
According to McAllister, the initiative was organized by the Canadian Federation of Students, the Sierra Youth Coalition and the Polaris Institute to raise awareness of the concerns of bottled water.
He also added Ryerson is the first campus in Ontario and the fourth university in Canada to make the pledge.
EnviroWestern co-ordinator Holly Stover said EnviroWestern also participated in Bottled Water Free Day.
“At [Western], the sale of bottled water in the residences was stopped for the day […] and we had an awareness display and booth in the Atrium where volunteers ran a bottled water versus tap water taste test,” Stover said.
She added plastic bottle waste has become a significant issue which is continuously gaining attention.
“Roughly 80 per cent or more of the beverage containers in recycling bins [on campus] were bottled water brands available at campus food outlets,” Stover noted.
McAllister stated Ryerson’s focus has been on removing bottled water instead of all bottled beverage products, since bottled water has a more environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative.
However, Will Bortolin, vice-president campus issues for the University Students’ Council, added students should be the ones to make the decision about using bottled water.
“Bottled Water Free Day is a good awareness tool but bans are not the most effective […] you can buy other things in bottles and still not understand the issue,” Bortolin said. “If [students] don’t understand or make that decision on their own then it is really just a short-term fix.”
Western is also working towards making sure water fountains are made available on campus.
According to Bortolin, with an increase in the number of campus water fountains, Western will become a more sustainable community.
“The most important thing is that we have a beverage infrastructure system at [Western] that meets the needs of students without creating an unsustainable environmental impact,” Stover said.
Phil DiNucci, a second-year arts and humanities student, said he uses a reusable water bottle and would be in favor of removing bottled water sales from campus.
“It’s positive to see more awareness around the issue of bottled water waste,” Bortolin added. “A lot of students interested in reducing [plastic bottle waste] because it is an entirely avoidable form of waste.”

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