PORTLAND -- In a move to make its campus more environmentally friendly, the University of Portland said it will no longer sell or use disposable plastic water bottles.
The change was made effective Feb 1, making the University of Portland the first college or university on the West Coast to eliminate disposable plastic water bottles. UP joins over 20 schools nationwide also making the change.
Now students, faculty and staff will instead be encouraged to drink tap water and use reusable water containers.
“The University of Portland takes seriously its commitment to being a good steward of the planet,” said University President Rev. E. William Beauchamp, C.S.C. “This will not only reduce the amount of waste generated on our campus but will help focus attention on the critical issues of sustainability and water rights.”
In 2009, the University of Portland used 53,112 disposable plastic water bottles. According to industry research, less than 25 percent of disposable plastic water bottles are recycled. Much of the water contained in disposable plastic bottles comes from distant locations, requiring a large environmental cost to bail, ship and transport the bottles, UP officials said.
The University’s food service provider will no longer sell disposable plastic water bottles at The Cove, a University café, campus vending machines and at concessions stands at athletic events.
“It’s something we need to do,” said Bon Appétit general manager Kirk Mustain. “It’s a goal that is attainable, and water is becoming a key issue worldwide. Sustainability is important on our campus and for Bon Appétit.”
The move to eliminate disposable plastic water bottles comes just two months before the University hosts Confluences: Water & Justice, a three-day conference from March 26-28. The conference will bring together some of the nation’s leading experts to examine various perspectives on water, including environmental justice, protection, science, theology, business, history, law and the Native American perspective. For more information on the upcoming conference, click on the UP Web site.