Saturday, October 9, 2010

DePaul’s Water Bottle refill stations

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Illinois in their twenty-second annual landfill capacity report of 2008 stated that approximately 50 million gate cubic yards of solid waste was accepted of the State's 47 landfills with only 14% of that being recycled.

There are many factors that contribute to the enormous amount of solid waste and one of them is water bottle production.

Water bottle production has seen a huge increase over the past 10 years. According the Container Recycling Institute, there has been an increase of bottles sales in the US from 3 billion in 1996 to 36 billion in 2006 with about 40 million bottles a day ending up in trash or becoming litter. Food and watch reported that there is about 1.5 millions tons of plastic used per year to produce water bottles with 47 millions gallons of oil used to match the production. They also estimate that 8 out of 10 water bottles will end up in a land fill or as litter. Water bottle production has become a huge environmental concern since it uses up so much of the Earth's resources.

To help tackle the issue of reducing solid waste in Illinois, one of the truly outstanding sustainable development idea at DePaul university has implemented is the water bottle refill stations. It will take large scale recycling initiatives to counter this growing concern, but finding alternative ways like installing the ELKAY ezH2O water bottle stations around the campus will help contribute to reducing the solid waste and fossil fuel issues.

Considering these EPA statistics, implementation of the
ELKAY ezH2O stations on the DePaul Lincoln Park and Loop campuses has been beneficial on many scales. Students and faculty can now enjoy cleaner tastier water without worrying about whether germs are can be transmitted during fountain use contact. Reusing water bottles at these stations will help reduce the litter factor caused by the huge cultural need of water bottle production of the past decade. Other advantages of the station are the ELKAY’s unique filter system. It aids in the ability of quick refill capabilities and the ultra modern design that makes the water station more approachable than the outdated fountains from the past. These features will help keep up with the fast pace lifestyle most students are accustomed too.
DePaul has found an effective way to contribute to the growing concern of solid waste management by providing a service that will contribute to the overall well-being of the individual and the environment. the University also serves as an example for neighboring college institutes, companies and other organizations that can follow. In addition to being more environmental conscious, this also promotes a healthy lifestyle for the individual.

Education and awareness are essential tools that are required to inform people of the innovative ideas that help the environment. DePaul's water bottle station is an excellent example of reducing the carbon footprint and using these fountains will encourage people to take a more self-conscious and active approach to recycling and reusing not only at our school but in their own personal homes.

By: Mary Deemer

Photo Credit: Container recyling Insitute, ELKAY company

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