St. Benedict bans bottled water sales on campus

St. Benedict bans bottled water sales on campus Click to Enlarge Photo:

Aug 24, 2011 at 11:07 am

ST. JOSEPH, Minn. (KNSI) - Don't look for plastic bottles of your favorite brand of water on the College of St. Benedict campus anymore.

The St. Joseph school has become the first Minnesota college and one of only nine in the U.S. to ban the sale of bottled water on campus, according to college officials.

Beginning Monday, bottled water was removed from campus vending machines and would no longer be sold in the St. Benedict bookstore, dining halls or at school athletic events, CSB sustainability director Judy Purman said.

In addition, the school was removing traditional water coolers, although employees and students could still continue to bring bottled water from home or off-campus.

"Not only are there environmental, economic and social costs of production, transport and sale of bottled water, it's important to recognize that water is a fundamental human right. As such, we are choosing to decline to profit from its sale," Purman said.

The college has also installed 31 hydration stations around campus, including at least one in each school building, dispensing tap water to fill the bottled water void. Over the next year, Purman said the Office of Sustainability will provide free reusable bottles for students and faculty to encourage use of the stations.

Purman said the decision came after a year of study that showed "banning the bottle" was in the school's best interests.

"The cost of a 20-ounce bottle of water is $1.50. That works out to $9.60 a gallon, almost three times the cost of gasoline. Statistics like that resonate with college students," Purman said.

In addition to the bottle ban, St. Benedict has also removed trays from the campus' Gorecki Dining and Conference Center. Purman said the move would conserve on several resources, including labor, water and soap. "We also believe that it will reduce the amount of food being thrown away," Purman said.

Classes begin at the College of St. Benedict on Wed., Aug. 31.


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