EDITORIAL: University won't stop selling single-use plastic bottles until we stop buying them

Calli Morris | Staff Photographer

Nearly 500,000 beverages in 20-ounce, plastic bottles were sold through Central Michigan University's campus stores from August 2014 to May 2015. 

Many of those beverages were single-use bottles of Aquafina water. That's basically the same water that one can get from faucets, soda fountains in dining halls and from one of the many water bottle refill stations located throughout campus. 

Members of Take Back the Tap would like to see the number of bottled water sales drop to zero. 

We do too.

With the support of Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services Barrie Wilkes and Take Back the Tap, 10 new water bottle refill stations will be installed each year until they are available on every floor of every campus building. Take Back the Tap has also worked with campus-dining supplier Aramark to temporarily stop the sale of single-use bottled water in The Market on south campus. 

This trial period begins March 13. Depending on feedback, Aramark will determine if it will continue selling bottled water on campus after this semester ends.

This trial period is an opportunity for our community to show university leaders how we feel about protecting the environment. It also is a statement about what we think of corporations making profits from our natural resources. 

So join us in supporting Take Back the Tap — stop buying bottled water on campus.

Take Back the Tap President Allison LaPlatt said the university is looking to see a unified student voice offering its opinion on ending water bottle sales.

Sales of Aquafina, the brand of bottled water available on campus, account for 10 percent of CMU's campus stores' total sales. It makes financial sense for CMU to sell the Pepsi-owned brand of water, despite the environmental concern. But if students stop purchasing the product, CMU would have no reason to continue to stock it. 

Let's stop buying it.

This small change is practical for college students and may save you a little change in the process. Buying a refillable water bottle saves money. The cost of a bottle of Aquafina in Moore Hall is $1.50. Refilling a reusable container with one of Moore Hall's refill stations costs you nothing and helps reduce plastic waste. Everybody wins. 

Because of Take Back the Tap's efforts, CMU has a chance to be a leader in reducing plastic waste on college campuses. Now is the time to be the change we want to see in the world. 

We can stand idle or join together to help make a change in our community that will benefit everyone. 

We can continue to purchase single-use water bottles from Pepsi, or we can each make the small change to use refillable bottles. 

The change is simple. 

We all just need to do our part.