Dining facilities to ban plastic bottles

by Stephanie Bradbury / Beacon Staff • November 3, 2011

By the beginning of next semester, plastic water bottles will be banned from all on-campus dining facilities, according to Andrew Mahoney, director of business services.

Mahoney said the college has been working in conjunction with food services and facilities to bring in water bottle filling stations. He added that water bottles will also no longer be provided at events, and instead pitchers of tap water will be served.

The news, however, comes as Earth Emerson is preparing to get rid of plastic water bottles. Despite the college’s plans to eliminate the plastic, Erin Moriarty, co-president of Earth Emerson, said the organization will continue with her campaign.

“We are definitely going to go on [with the petition],” said Moriarity. “We will be tabling next Monday and Tuesday and the following Tuesday and Wednesday.”

Mahoney said the college will endorse the student initiative to lower the use of plastic bottles on campus.

“It’s a great movement and we would be totally supportive,” said Mahoney.

According to the Container Recycling Institute, a non-profit organization, Americans buy an estimated 34.6 billion single serving plastic water bottles a year, most of which end up in a landfill or incinerator. Many of these litter roads, beaches, streams and other waterways, and litter cleanup costs require hundreds of millions of tax dollars each year.

The student initiative to rid Emerson of plastic water bottles originated with Emerson Peace and Social Justice. The movement then caught the attention of Earth Emerson.

“As socially and environmentally conscious people, we have wanted to see the elimination of plastic water bottles on Emerson’s campus for quite some time,” said Dylan Manderlink  the president of EPSJ.

Emerson will join 14 other colleges across the U.S. and Canada that have campus-wide bans on plastic water bottles, accroding to the Association for the Advancement Sustainability in Higher Education.

Morarity said eliminating the liquid vessels are a small part of changing recycling habits.

“It’s a little thing you can do that would make a big change” said the junior marketing major. “I didn’t really know how bad plastic water bottles were until I started researching it. Once you realize how detrimental it is for not only the Earth’s health but also your own health, it becomes more important.