With the recent implementation of composting and Sustainability Week, Sonoma State University has been making changes to become a more environment-friendly campus. Banning the sale of single-use plastic water bottles on campus could be the next step towards sustainability.
The Associated Students have been tabling a resolution written by Community Affairs Senator Elizabeth Dippel that would state that the Associated Students supports a ban on single-use plastic water bottles.
“Sonoma State listed sustainability as a core value in our strategic plan,” said Sustainability Senator Allison Jenks. “Banning the sale of single-use plastic water bottles would reduce our campus’ impact on the environment.”
If the resolution passes, it will only be the first step in making the ban a reality.
“As a Senate, we could pass [the resolution] as early as next Friday,” said Dippel. “However, just because the resolution could pass doesn’t mean the ban goes into effect immediately.”
The resolution would then be taken to different Sonoma State officials as a way of showing them that the student body supports taking this action towards being more sustainable.
The university has a contract with Pepsi that could be a factor in deciding when the potential ban could go into effect.
There would still be ways for students to get water on campus. There have been water bottle refilling stations put on every floor of the new Student Center along with one in Charlie Brown’s Cafe to make it easy for students and faculty to get water without buying it from a vending machine or restaurant. The resolution calls for more of these stations to be added if the ban goes into effect.
This could create a decrease in revenue for the school, but exact figures are not available at this time.
“Sonoma State has shown that sustainability is one of it’s core values,” said Jenks. “It’s important for us to make the commitment to sustainability. We must ask the question of whether revenue is more important than our core values.”
Single-use plastic water bottles are not sustainable products. In 2008, almost 2.5 million tons of plastic containers were disposed of, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
“Seventeen million barrels of crude oil are used every year to make single-use plastic water bottles, which is a waste of our resources,” said Jenks.
They aren’t the safer or cheaper option when it comes to drinking water, either. Tap water has stricter regulations and more testing done on it than bottled water, and it also costs a lot less money than bottled water, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Banning these bottles on campus could potentially put Sonoma State at the forefront of sustainability, as this is the way the country could be headed. Plastic bags have been banned or been tagged with extra fees in many cities. Similarly, the entire city of Concord, Massachusetts banned single-use plastic bottles at the beginning of the year, according to Ban the Bottle.
“Recently, the Princeton Review came out with a list of green colleges, including schools that have a perfect green rating,” said Dippel. “I would like to see Sonoma State make this list, as it would be great publicity and instill a sense of pride in our students.”
Reusable water bottles are available for purchase in the Campus Bookstore.