Students seek to ban plastic

Water jug on left: "Tap Water: $.002 per gallon", Water jug on right: "Bottled water: $.89-$8.26 per gallon"

Graphic by Dorothy Gacioch | Washtenaw Voice

By Brittany Dekorte
Deputy Editor

Washtenaw Community College’s club, students for sustainability, have started a campaign to keep bottled
water from being sold on campus.

The club has started this process via a petition/pledge for students to sign, said Joe Chapman, the club president.

“It’s a pledge asking students not to buy bottled water on campus, to show the board that our idea has backing. We’re also seeking to add more water bottle refill stations on campus, right now there are only three,” Chapman said.

According to Hannah Freeland, another student in the club, the petition has 240 signatures so far.

The initiative, called “Take Back The Tap”, is inspired by similar initiatives that have taken place on campuses around the country. One such initiative that took place at Cornell University, whose research found that bottled water cost their campus community around $640,000 per year, while the same volume of tap water only cost about $1,000.

The Federal Government has more rigorous and frequent safety testing for tap water than bottled water
The cost for a gallon of tap water is about .002 cents, compared to .89 cents to $8.26 for bottled water 75% of disposable bottles end up in landfills and waterways, instead of being recycled

Within Michigan, “Take Back The Tap” has sprung up on Central Michigan University’s campus, and the campus of Albion in Grand Rapids. Mariah Urueta of Food and Water Watch helped start the movement on Central’s
campus while she was a student there. According to Urueta, her efforts helped one of the stores on campus stop their sale of bottled water.

“We like to encourage colleges to encourage alternatives too, like increasing the number of drinking fountains and refill stations, and having statistics about bottled water posted near places where you could buy it,” Urueta said.

Emily Thompson teaches environmental sciences at WCC and is the adviser for the students for sustainability club. According to her, there’s another big thing to think of besides cost to the college and recycling: the virtual stealing of resources by water bottling companies.

“Companies like Nestle will come in and get massive amounts of Michigan ground water for pennies, then turn around and bottle it and sell it for giant profits in and out of state, and it’s no different than the water you get from the tap,” Thompson said.

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