Students, faculty and staff can become eco-friendly on campus and save money simply by refilling their water bottles using one of the Elkay refill station water fountains on campus, said Business and Finance Vice President John Boyd.
There are currently 15 refill station water fountains on campus, “which provide filtered water and show a digital readout of how many bottles of water have been saved,” he said.
The refill stations are saving plastic bottles by the hundred-thousands, according to the readouts — cumulatively more than 290,000 20-ounce plastic bottles have been saved from waste thus far.
The systems were installed over the last three fiscal years as funds were made available, said Facilities Management Director Chris Snow in an email.
Boyd said five of the refill stations were first installed on campus in 2012.
Since that time, the campus has gained five more at a total cost of $14,435 for all 15 refill stations.
He said that cost does not include installation, which varies depending on plumbing needs.
Boyd said the overriding rationale for the refill stations was to save on the recycling effort from all the plastic bottles.
“[It’s] not that we don’t want to recycle, but … it’s how user friendly you are to the environment if you filter water, as opposed to getting filtered water in a plastic bottle, then have to recycle that plastic.
“That was really the driving mechanism behind it, to assist that recycleable effort.”
Snow said it’s been an important step in OCCC going green.
“Encouraging our college community to reuse bottles … by installing water bottle filling stations is one step that [OCCC] can take to reduce the financial, environmental and social impacts of our present disposable water bottle use,” he said.
Boyd said although it’s an expense to the college, the refill stations can help students and employees save money.
“If they want filtered water, they don’t have to go buy fancy filtered water,” he said.
“They can bring a container and get the filtered water without having to pay for it.
“You can certainly taste the difference in the filtered water,” he said.
Boyd said he doesn’t know if the college will install more refill stations, but said the investment would likely be made if the need is there.
“To the extent that we can save our students and employees a little money … to me that’s a great benefit, especially to people who drink a lot of bottled water,” he said.
“I hope it communicates to the students and to our employees that we are conscientious about the environment. There’s a cost to that, but we are conscientious.”
Students and employees can find these Elkay refill stations in the College Union, Main Building first floor, second floor and third floor, Arts and Humanities first floor, Library first floor and second floor, SEM Center Entry 1, 2 and 8, the John Massey Center, VPAC building, HPEC Building, Facilities Management and the Wellness Center.
For more information about the Elkay refill stations, visit www.elkay.com/bottle-filling-stations.
To contact Bryce McElhaney, email firstname.lastname@example.org