Ban the Sale of Bottled Water at Wartburg College

As Wartburg students concerned with the current global environmental situation and as advocates for a more sustainable model of higher education, we would like to manifest our opposition to the retail sale of bottled water on the Wartburg College campus. This easily avoidable practice is unsustainable with negative repercussions for society and the environment. Thus, we propose banishing retail sale of bottled water in all venues within this institution.

Evidence supports the observation that the plastic bottled water industry is unsustainable. After severaldiscussions on the topic we, the Wartburg EARTH student organization, as well as other members of the student body and faculty, have determined the following as our main arguments for banning bottled water on campus:

1) Plastic Waste Reduction. An astonishing amount of plastic is being wasted, of which only a small percentage is recycled (or better said, “down-cycled”, since it used in less valuable products).
Most of the plastic accumulates in landfills or may be shipped to less developed countries that have less stringent regulations, which is an unethical practice. The large number of discarded water bottles puts more pressure on the college recycling program.
2) Greenhouse Gas Reduction. Plastic water bottle usage is linked to the issue of carbon emissions in the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases are emitted during the manufacturing, transportation,
storage and post-consumer waste management of plastic materials.
3) Water Waste Reduction. There is a lot of water wasted in the cycle of bottled water production significantly more water than what is sold in the end product. It typically takes three liters of
water to produce one liter of bottled water1.
4) The alternatives are highly viable. The municipal tap water in Waverly meets all federal andstate standards of potability, and there is no data that indicates bottled water is any better. In addition, Wartburg College is making an effort to provide enough water fountains, reusable bottle fillers and good infrastructure supporting availability of pure and clean water. This makes bottled water an unnecessary and unsustainable commodity.
5) Opportunity for education. We are confident that banning sales of bottled water on campus will encourage members of the Wartburg community to inquire more about the unsustainability of
this product. This would create the long-term habit of using reusable bottles as an alternative.
6) Business Opportunity. This should not be seen as a threat for college businesses, but instead may be an opportunity to promote the sale and use of reusable bottles and/or cups throughout
campus.

1 http://www.pacinst.org/publication/bottled-water-and-energy-a-fact-sheet/

We appreciate your time spent reading our letter and we hope that this initiative will be taken into consideration as soon as possible. We believe that this action will provide benefits to both our campus community and the environment.

By signing this document you are expressing open support for banning bottled water on the Wartburg College campus. Your name will be included in the formal proposal.

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