Students want to halt the waste of single-use water bottles


Molly Marcussen lowering the bottles that will eventually hang from the third floor of Butte Hall. Photo credit: George Johnston

On April 13, Students for Sustainable Hydration passed the ballot to eliminate single-use bottled water on campus.

“We are a group of students who all have one thing in common: We strive to live a sustainable lifestyle,” said Molly Marcussen, leader of Students for Sustainable Hydration.

Bottled water costs 1,000 times more tap water and is environmentally damaging, according to Students for Sustainable Hydration.

“We want everyone to know that it’s not just the bottles, but it is the waste from the entire bottling project,” Marcussen said.

According to the group, for each bottle, one-fourth liter of oil is used to make it, and that doesn’t include the oil used to get these bottles to campus. Eliminating the bottle sales will also promote and maintain other ways of sustainable energy.

“We see the waste that comes from bottled water: the littered bottles on campus, the plastic trash island in the ocean and piles of water bottles that end up in foreign countries to be incinerated,” Marcussen said.

On April 8 and 11, the students strung 18 25-foot strands of bottled water from the third floor of Butte Hall. The amount of bottles equates one shift of recycling by the Associated Students.

Marcussen noticed a mostly positive reaction from students regarding the campaign. Many students have responded well and support the message Students for Sustainable Hydration is sending.

Other students found the measure to be frustrating.

Water is the healthiest drinking option, and halting the sale of plastic bottles could affect students who do not bring reusable ones.

“Being able to buy a bottled water on campus is really convenient, especially if you forget your reusable bottle at home. Buying a water is a choice; no one is required to spend their money on plastic bottles,” said Janelle Cardenas, junior business major.

There are recycling bins located all over campus for those who want to dispose of their plastic bottle.

“Even though I use a plastic bottle sometimes, I don’t only use it once. I refill it just as I would my reusable bottle,” Cardenas said.

This is not the first time a sustainable initiative has been put on the ballot. In past elections, there have been similar campaigns put on by Students for Sustainable Hydration.

“We shouldn’t be paying for water when we can get it for free, and we should not be supporting such a wasteful industry,” Marcussen said.

Many students already bring reusable bottles to school as Chico State is a sustainable campus, and this could be the next step to furthering the sustainability.

“I think it’s a great way to spread awareness to those who may not have been raised to be environmentally conscious or are not sure how to be sustainable,” said Josie Bruce, senior health science education major.

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Photo credit: Kayla Fitzgerald

Kayla Fitzgerald can be reached at [email protected] or @kaylafitz_20 on Twitter.