College bans sale of plastic water bottles on campus

by Katie Prisco-Buxbaum / Beacon Staff • March 15, 2012

Watter bottles foley
Water bottles will be replaced with water-filling stations.
Beacon Staff
Water bottles will be replaced with water-filling stations.
Beacon Staff

In an email to the Emerson community yesterday, President M. Lee Pelton announced the college will phase out the sale of bottled water and discourage the purchase of bottled water with college funds.

“Among the many reasons for discontinuing bottled water are the environmental costs to produce and transport bottled water, the plundering of underground aquifers, and the potential health risks from chemicals contained in plastic,” said Pelton in the email. “Emerson College joins a growing list of colleges making this transition.” 

Erin Moriarty, co-president of Earth Emerson who campaigned for the ban last semester with tabling, petitions, and a screening of the environmental documentary “Tapped,” said the organization will continue to raise awareness about plastic water bottle use through other events.

A blog post on BostInnovation, a Boston tech blog, said more than 85 college campuses nationwide are banning the sale or trying to restrict the use of plastic water bottles. 

In addition to the college adding water-filling stations and reconstructing existing water fountains to make it easier to refill plastic vessels, the incoming class will be given reusable bottles, according to Moriarty,  who is also a member of the college’s sustainability committee.

One water station already exists in the Emerson Café.

Moriarty said she hopes students will not grab a soda for convenience.

“Even now, I fill my own water bottle with water from my dorm room sink,” said the junior marketing communication major. “I think that the use of the water stations will increase once they are in prominent places.”