13 Feb 2012:
Student Push for Ban on Plastic Water Bottles Irks Industry
Student groups on some college campuses are pushing their schools to ban the sale of plastic water bottles, a campaign that so far has prompted more than 20 colleges and universities to impose partial or complete bans. The bottled water industry has responded with a sarcastic video criticizing the campaign. Student groups, citing environmental and health concerns of one-time bottle use, have worked with nonprofit groups like Ban the Bottle to have bottled water removed from vending machines and cafeterias and to push for more reusable bottle handouts and the use of water fountains. In recent months, Macalester College in Minnesota and Humboldt State University in California have imposed campus-wide bans, and the University of Vermont says it will end its contract with Dasani bottler Coca-Cola this year. “We’re really trying to make it part of the student culture to carry a water bottle,” Clare Pillsbury, a Macalester senior, told NPR. In response, the International Bottled Water Association has released a video belittling the students’ cause — contrasting the campaign with other campus protest issues from the past, from civil rights to Darfur — and making the case that a bottled water ban would leave consumers with fewer healthy beverage options.