SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - The reusable water bottle filling stations that started sprouting up around the Slippery Rock University campus in 2011 have already succeeded in avoiding the use of more than an estimated 250,000 disposable water bottles. The initiative reduces expenses and is another example of SRU's sustainability leadership.
"We now have more than 20 filling stations on campus that not only help reduce the waste from single-use disposable plastic water bottles, but they filter the water to make it taste better," said Scott Albert, SRU director of facilities and planning.
"Any way you look at it, this program is a huge success for SRU students, faculty and staff," said Paul Scanlon, special assistant to the president for sustainability planning and operations.
"At the going rate on campus of $1.65 per bottle, that's close to half a million that stays in our pockets instead of being spent on buying plastic bottles," Scanlon said. "We're also reaping the environmental benefits - reducing the amount of waste we dump in the landfill and eliminating the greenhouse gas emissions and water used in the manufacture and transportation of disposable bottles.
Scanlon said the bottle filling station program has also saved more than 100,000 gallons of fresh water required to make the bottles, and over four metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gas emissions.
Plastic bottles are produced from crude oil; in 2005, it took 18 million barrels of crude oil to make 30 billion plastic bottles, and only 12 percent were recycled, Scanlon said.
"More recent research shows that 50 billion single-use water bottles are sold each year, with 38 billion of them ending up in landfills, rivers and oceans," he said.
The University now has a second type of bottle filling station, the "Evive" stations located at the Smith Student Center and the Aebersold Student Recreation Center. These stations are one of the world's first water filling stations that clean, sanitize and refill reusable water bottles with highly filtered and chilled water, Scanlon said.
These water stations provide unlimited refills and bottle cleaning to the user. The 20 ounce, reusable water bottles are $9.99 with a subscription fee of $2.99 per month for the service.
The Evive stations help improve the health of students and staff through the convenient cleaning service that reduces the spread of germs and bacteria, and uses non-BPA refillable plastic water bottles.
SRU's has demonstrated greening leadership in building design, energy management, sustainable food practices, recycling, transportation and purchasing. The Princeton Review has included SRU in its "Guide to 322 Green Colleges" that have shown an above average commitment to sustainability, and SRU made the Sierra Club's "Top 100" green universities this year as well.
Trend 5 of "Reaching for 2025 and Beyond," the University's long-range strategic plan, cites sustainability as an institutional priority. SRU is committed to producing graduates with the skills to excel in a world of diminishing resources.
SRU has committed itself to becoming a carbon neutral institution by 2037.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.