Campus News

Drinking it in

Water bottle refiller-h.action
Brenda Mattox (right)

University's first water bottle refilling stations installed in Eugene P. Odum School of Ecology

Students, faculty and staff can now refill reusable bottles with filtered water in the Odum School of Ecology. The stations are the first on campus installed as a part of UGA’s sustainability efforts to reduce waste and the impacts associated with single use disposable bottles.

“Bottles and cans currently make up about 15 percent of the trash sent to the landfill at UGA,” said Andrew Lentini, sustainability coordinator in the Office of Sustainability.

On average, only 10-15 percent of plastic water bottles are recycled nationwide, and plastic in the landfill can take
1,000 years to break down. In addition to creating waste, the production and transport of disposable plastic water bottles releases greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to global climate change. Plus, tap water is cheaper, costing just pennies compared with $1-2 per 12 ounces of bottled water.

“One of the important benefits of these stations is that they make some of our older fountains accessible to people with disabilities. So not only do they help the environment and save money for the consumer, but they are making tasty, filtered tap water available to all,” said Kevin Kirsche, director of sustainability at UGA.

The refilling stations release a steady stream of filtered water when a bottle is placed beneath the spout. To ensure good health, the Office of Sustainability recommends the use of PBA-free plastic or metal bottles that are specifically intended for reuse and that are washed after each use.

Students, faculty and staff in the ecology building have been lining up to fill their reusable bottles. The stations have received positive feedback for their convenience and the taste of the filtered water.

The fountains were installed in early January as a partnership between the UGA Ecology Club, which raised part of the funds for the fountains, and the Physical Plant. Based on the success of the pilot program in the ecology building, university administrators plan to install the water bottle refilling stations in other campus locations.