A city-wide plastic bag ban will soon be put into effect. Local shoppers will have to alter their habits slightly, or pay a small fee per bag.
If this town is serious about being sustainable, such a miniscule shift in consumer habits shouldn’t be too difficult to manage.
The next step in disrupting the cycle of plastic waste is to ban the sale of bottled water.
This is not to say that giving up Aquafina will resolve climate change.
Ideally, transformative change would arise organically, by the will of people who would like to avert the sixth great extinction.
But if a more responsible culture won’t take root on its own, top-down measures can help. San Francisco’s city wide ban on bottled water will begin in October.
Chico state can spearhead a similar sanction here in the North valley.
Since I work at a retail pit stop on campus I see what students are buying. Bottled water is the most popular item we sell. In an effort at subliminal persuasion I ask customers if they really want to buy bottled water, if they know it’s not as well regulated as tap water.
Most don’t take offense. They’re genuinely surprised when I tell them the facts. Those who know better say, “It’s just so convenient. Tap water tastes horrible.”
It’s true; Chico tap water isn’t fantastic tasting. But the BMU and the WREC have filling stations equipped with carbon filtration systems that pour crystal clear, pure tasting H2O.
And the convenience argument needs to be shelved. This is an argument against the forming of a new habit. When people say it’s convenient what they mean is “It’s too much trouble to remember my canteen.”
But it’s not too much trouble. It’s just a matter of making a commitment to change. Good habits are as difficult to form as bad ones are to change.
The university can assist with the transition from plastic use to reusable vessels by installing more filling stations around campus. It should feel stupid to buy bottled water.
Kevin Crittenden can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @kevlodius.