By Cameron Sellers
Principia took action to reduce single-use plastic on campus by replacing plastic water bottles with aluminum. Over the years Principia has made many eco-friendly changes. Sustainability and biology professor Karen Eckert shared some interesting statistics about our campus: “Principia College has seen an 87.2% drop in bottled water sales between 2010 and 2017” by installing wall-mounted filling stations in most dormitories. These numbers are great to see, but we are always looking to improve them.
This semester, Dining Services has introduced a new water bottle made out of aluminum that is completely renewable. This bottled water can be found where the old plastic ones used to be, in the refrigerator in the scramble room. The company is called Proud Source and their water is all natural and sourced from the Rocky Mountains. Their water has a high ph level (around 8.1-8.5) which means the water has more hydrogen than oxygen and is known to have health benefits.
Head Chef Trey McCart is always looking to improve sustainability in the cafeteria, especially involving use of plastic. He is interested in these new aluminum bottles because he says, “unlike plastic bottles that you can’t re-use, these can be re-used just like a regular water bottle.”
Not only is Dining Services excited about this change but so is the sustainability department. Sustainability professor Nick Johnson shared his opinion on the switch to aluminum bottles by saying, “I am a big fan of the new bottles because recycling is becoming really difficult on campus because it costs a lot of money due to China’s new restriction on recyclable material.” China has stopped taking the world’s recycled goods and recycling centers in the United States are getting backed up. This makes the process of breaking down plastics more expensive than before. Johnson also shared that “We are in a situation right now where we might stop recycling at the end of the year.” Hopefully these aluminum water bottles will not only improve but solve many recycling problems on our campus. WasteCare Corporation says, “It only takes about 6 weeks to manufacture, fill, sell, recycle and remanufacture a beverage can.”
Principia is making progress and becoming a more sustainable campus, but we as students need to take more care of Principia, of our city, of our oceans and of our planet. It all starts with our actions, so please reuse the new water bottles and make sure you use single stream recycling.