Queen’s is delivering on its promise to ban bottled water sales across campus this fall in an effort to curb waste and promote sustainable water practices. As of September 1, bottled water is no longer available in vending machines, retail outlets or at catered events.
“Queen’s is committed to creating a greener community for its students, faculty and staff and this initiative is a positive step – both in action and awareness – toward that goal,” says Principal Daniel Woolf. “Banning bottled water makes us take a step back and think about this valuable resource and the impact of our choices on the environment.”
The ban aims to reduce the 98,000 plastic bottles that go through the university’s waste and recycling system each year. In addition, with the ban, the university avoids contributing to the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production and transportation of bottled water.
The university encourages students, faculty and staff to use refillable bottles. To facilitate this, access to municipal drinking water has been enhanced, with dozens of new fountains installed across campus. The new fountains include bottle-filling stations, many with an awareness device that tracks the number of litres poured and displays a running total of plastic bottles saved from landfills.
In total, there are nearly 60 bottle-filling stations, including several already provided in main dining outlets, and 130 traditional drinking fountains across campus. At catered events, large coolers will be used to dispense water into glass, compostable paper or recyclable plastic cups.
In 2010, Principal Woolf pledged to end bottled water sales, subject to contractual agreements that would take till 2012 to expire, as one way of creating a sustainable future. Visit the Sustainability Office for more information and a map of the new bottle-filling fountains.