University Of Vermont Bans Single-Use Water Bottles
Joins Growing Number Of Colleges To Enact Similar Policies
The University of Vermont (UVM) has become the largest public institution in the U.S. to ban sales of single-use plastic water bottles, joining a growing number of colleges that have enacted similar on-campus policies. The UVM ban went into effect yesterday, at the beginning of the school's spring semester. To encourage the use of refillable water bottles, UVM has converted many campus water fountains to bottle filling stations.
Across the nation, 22 private schools have already enacted single-use water bottle bans, as students have protested the amount of fossil fuel resources needed to produce and transport the bottles. According to consumer rights group Food and Water Watch, bottled water production uses between 32 million and 54 million barrels of oil every year. Supporters of the ban argue the majority of plastic water bottles - up to 80% - are never recycled, creating excessive waste and causing harm to the environment.
While colleges and universities have been most aggressive in targeting single-use plastic water bottles, some communities are taking action as well. Earlier this month, the town of Concord, MA, began enforcing a plastic water bottle ban at retail stores. First time offenders are being given warnings, but subsequent offenses are being punished by fines of up to $50.
Concord first passed a single-use ban in 2010, but the Massachusetts attorney general's office rejected the action, ruling what was approved was not written as a valid bylaw. After failing to win enough votes for passage in 2011, a newly-written ban won support by a 403 to 364 margin last year. The state attorney general's office signed off on the language of the ban in September.