Warm temperatures mean frequent water breaks and the increased use of bottled water for the UALR campus, but pose a challenge for those concerned about the use of plastic water bottles, which are not biodegradable. The Sustainability Committee at UALR implemented an eco-friendly alternative when they installed a water bottle filling station in the Donaghey Student Center.
Part of the Committee’s mission is to conserve resources and protect the environment. By using a refill station, the campus is helping to reduce the estimated 38 billion plastic bottles that clutter landfills each year, said Jim Carr, professor in the Department of Construction Management and Civil and Construction Engineering, who leads the Sustainability Committee.
“Since the water is free, it reduces the cost to our students and staff,” he said. “But the best part is that it helps eliminates products entering the waste stream.”
The station for hydration is equipped with a counter that tracks its usage and refills bottles using filtered water.
In less than two weeks, the counter indicated the refill station has reduced the need for over 400 plastic bottles of water.
UALR’s Associate Dean of Students Debbie Gentry proposed the idea for the station last spring, and it was installed over the summer before fall classes began. The refill station is in the DSC in the upper concourse in the DSC Solicitation Area across from the DSC Conference Services Office.
UALR has achieved Bronze Status in the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Reporting System (STARS), an initiative of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.
For more information about the Sustainability Committee’s work, visit ualr.edu/sustainability.