In the Joint Assembly of February 4, the Executive Board (EB ) announced that it wants to reduce the sale of plastic water bottles on campus.
Original text: Irene Wilde
Translation: Vincent Veerbeek
The subject was brought up by student faction AKKUraatd, following the example set by Utrecht University (UU). As of February, water bottles are no longer sold in the vending machines on campus in Utrecht. Wilma de Koning, vice-president of the EB indicated that she thinks the decision made by the UU sets a good example, but that completely banning disposable water bottles is a step too far for now. That is why she will ask the Facilities & Services Department to examine ways in which the sale of plastic water bottles can be reduced.
Long road ahead
‘We think that the UU’s decision to ban bottled water is a great step in the right direction’, says Thijmen Sietsma, coordinator of the Green Office at Radboud University (RU). ‘I have visited the Green Office at the UU before and I know they have been working on this for a very long time.’ Because the on-campus vending machines in Utrecht are not owned by the university, it took a lot of time to get rid of disposable water bottles. Sietsma personally believes that the RU will not ban bottled water anytime soon. ‘It was a long road to make this a reality at the UU, and we have simply not reached that point yet.’ Irena Stojanovic, assistant manager at Spar University explains that it is not easy to stop the sale of disposable water bottles entirely. ‘We have been concerned with this issue ever since our store opened, but the water is simply delivered to us in plastic bottles by a supplier.’
Join the Pipe
Students at the UU who forget to bring their own bottle can buy a re-usable one for €4,95 that can be filled with tap water. The EB has indicated that there are already three Join the Pipe drinking fountains on campus. An additional fourth tap will be added once the new Refter opens. ‘That is the main focus of the Green Office right now’, says Sietsma. ‘We want to encourage the use of these fountains. One of the ways in which we are doing this is by inviting a group of painters to create artworks around the drinking fountains. We are also planning a water challenge, but I cannot say anything about that yet.’