The university joins a nationwide movement to promote tap water over bottled water.
Seattle University (SU) became the first in the state of Washington to stop selling plastic bottled water on campus, The Seattle Times reported.
The announcement came after SU students campaigned for thee years to persuade the university to cut down on waste and make the school more sustainable. The effort was part of a nationwide campaign to educate consumers on the environmental costs of bottled water and restore faith in public tap water.
The SU effort focused on ending the sale of bottled water at school cafeterias, concession stands and vending machines, as well as installing bottle fillers at 31 water fountains around campus, making steel water bottles available to students at a discount, and donating $2 from the sale of every water bottle to the university chapter of Engineers Without Borders.
The donations will be used to install water treatment systems at medical clinics in Haiti, where less than half of the population has access to clean water. Every bottle sold will help four Haitians drink clean water for 10 years, according to the university.
SU is the sixth in the nation — and the first in the state of Washington — to join Corporate Accountability International’s “Think Outside the Bottle” campaign. The effort is similar to the “Take Back The Tap” campaign run by Food & Water Watch, which encourages cities, colleges and universities, restaurants and other businesses to switch to tap water.
University officials described the move as a chance to foster students’ concern for justice and oppose “misleading marketing” by bottled water corporations, which are “undermining people’s confidence in public water systems.”
The university also said that the move will help save money. According to SU officials, Seattle tap water costs half a penny per gallon, while a 20-ounce bottle of Aquafina had cost $1.50 from a university vending machine, or about $9.60 a gallon — making it almost 2,000 times more expensive.
The switch will also help SU reduce greenhouse gas emissions, since the oil used to make, deliver and dispose of water bottles creates pollution and contributes to global warming.
With the move, the university joins the City of Seattle and surrounding King County, which stopped purchasing bottled water for government employees and agencies in 2008.