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University Using Cathy to Encourage Students to Drink Tap Water

Here’s an interesting story from a Universal Press release that the University of Maryland is using a Cathy strip to encourage students to drink tap water instead of bottled water.

“Bottled water has become a popular and controversial product at universities. Since its introduction, the clear liquid in a plastic container with no flavor, no nutritional value and no overt benefit has become hugely popular and is status accessory among college students,” Mullineaux adds.

And, as explained by “Cathy,” 22 billion water bottles are dumped into landfills or incinerators every year. The Change Everything Web site (www.changeeverything.ca), which promotes environmentally friendly living, suggests that refilling reusable water bottles largely decreases the amount of plastic in the waste stream, and provides a cost-effective alternative to bottled water.

My employer recently stopped stocking the kitchen with bottled water for the same reasons. In its place they installed a free soda vending machine and now we’re throwing away hundreds of aluminum cans.

Community Comments

#1 Dawn Douglass
September/12/2007
@ 10:15 am

Tooth decay is skyrocketing in children, because many are no longer drinking the fluoridated water that cities provide.

Here’s something else important to know about those plastic bottles…never drink from a bottle that has been stored in excessive heat (like in the trunk of your car in the summer) or in the freezer, as both temperature extremes will leach cancer-causing chemicals from the plastic and into the liquid.

For the same reason, never heat food in a microwave oven in plastic or with plastic wrap covering it.

#2 Dawn Douglass
September/12/2007
@ 10:23 am

Btw, Alan, I did some contract work for a company that had a soda pop vending machine that would dispense into whatever vessel you put up to it. The company gave everybody a mug of the right size that had the company logo and their “green” commitment on it, and everybody used their own, over and over and over again. It worked really well. Was cheaper, too…just 40 cents for whichever soda you wanted. Just a nickel for ice water.

#3 Alan Gardner
September/12/2007
@ 10:26 am

I’ll bring that up with management. As long as the boss gets his Diet Coke (for free), he could probably care less what form it comes in. :)

#4 Alan Gardner
September/12/2007
@ 10:28 am

Back to the cartoon – I’m pleased to see Cathy Guisewite use the strip to highlight the issue. I don’t think many people really stop and think what becomes of the bottles after they’ve been discarded. The strip was informative without being too preachy.

#5 Dawn Douglass
September/12/2007
@ 10:45 am

Only Maine, California and Hawaii include water bottles in their bottle bills (where you return the bottle to get a deposit back). I’m happy to say that Oregon is joining them in January of 2009.

#6 Bryan
September/21/2007
@ 6:58 am

Both PET plastic bottles and aluminum cans can be readily recycled. PET recycles easier than aluminum.

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