McGill University is making the move to phase out the sale of bottled water on campus.
The McGill Office of Sustainability, which is leading the charge towards a greener campus, argues that bottled water comes at a heavy price.
“When you think about the amount of carbon footprint that’s involved in producing water bottles, transporting them to places and then the waste that they generate, we felt that it was the responsible thing to do,” said McGill Sustainability Director, François Miller.
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Students, faculty and staff are being encouraged to BYOB — that is to bring their own reusable bottles.
To make the transition easier, the university will install 25 new water fountains at convenient locations at both the downtown and Macdonald campuses, while existing fountains will be retrofitted to make refilling bottles quicker and easier.
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“In Quebec we have a lot of water – good water,” said environmentalist Karel Ménard. “So it’s not normal to have water in bottle. Especially when you know that less than 50 per cent of the plastic water bottles are actually recycled.”
The office says it will also work with partners to ensure events held on university grounds have the necessary tools at their disposal to reduce or eliminate the distribution of bottled water during McGill events.
One solution includes the use of a mobile water kiosk, that organizers can rent for outdoor events. The kiosk provides filtered water, free of charge, to anyone with a refillable container.
“I think it’s a great movement,” said McGill student Humza Alktaishat. “I think it’s time to step up with being more environmentally friendly.”
Consultants are also available to help organize activities that are more environmentally friendly, as well as inclusive and accessible.
The ban comes into effect May 1, 2019.