College’s Bottled Water Ban Won’t Leave Students Thirsty

bottled waterIt seemed like a good idea at the time: As part of the University of Vermont's greening effort, the university decided to stop selling bottled water in its vending machines. Instead, it would be installing more filtered water fountains and selling re-usable water bottles. Everyone drinks water, no more plastic bottles, everybody wins. Right?

No, someone loses: The International Bottled Water Association. They're claiming the "water bottle ban" (because BAN always sounds MEAN! and NEGATIVE!) is "failing" college students. But I think the university is just giving students what they want.


In a press release, the IBWA says the "ban" on bottled water contradicts another UV rule that requires all vending machines to contain 1/3 healthy beverages. It's like juice and unsweetened tea never existed! (Let's not get into a debate over the relative healthfulness of juice here -- that's another post for another day.)

Look, bottled water has its place. Sometimes you forget to bring a bottle with you. Sometimes you're on the west side of Salt Lake City, where all the tap water tastes brackish. But at the University of Vermont? A school full of hippies in the woods? Please. This is one community that will embrace tap water. It's going to be okay.

The new rules were spearheaded by the Vermont Student Environmental Program -- not some cabal of bottle-hating administrators. But what this is really about is money. UVM is ending its exclusive "pouring rights" contract with Coca-Cola of New England. This actually means MORE choices for the students. They won't be stuck with just Coca-Cola drinks. The school can now sell locally-brewed kombucha or whatever the hell they want. And that's the kind of choice the students prefer, anyway.

What do you think of the University of Vermont's decision to stop selling bottled water in campus vending machines?


Image via Muffet/Flickr

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