As part of NOVA’s continued commitment to the environment and sustainability, the College installed five new water bottle filling stations last semester. Currently, there are a total of 14 filling stations available College wide – two at Alexandria, two at Annandale, two at Loudoun, one at Manassas, six at Woodbridge and one at Medical Education. The stations make it easy to refill and reuse your water bottle and help to reduce the production and consumption of plastic bottles. Most filling stations are equipped with a meter which counts the number of “fill-ups” and bottles saved. Through July 2016, these stations have refilled over 185,000, 12 ounce water bottles.
Plastic bottles are a significant environmental concern because the vast majority of them are not recycled and production consumes huge amounts of oil, energy and water. Relative to tap water, they are also a hefty cost to consumers. If you have not already ditched the plastic bottle habit, here are some good reasons to give it a try:
- Expense: To consume the recommended eight, 8 ounce glasses of water daily, it costs the average consumer an estimated 40 cents per year for tap water and approximately $2,000 in individual, 16 ounce bottles.
- Energy: Approximately 17 million barrels of oil are used in producing bottled water annually for the United States, and about three liters of water are used to package one liter of bottled water.
- Health: The majority of plastic drink bottles are produced for one-time use. Reusing single-use, plastic bottles increases the likelihood of impurities due to the introduction of bacteria and the potential leaching of plastic compounds into the water.
- Waste: About one in five disposable water bottles are recycled, meaning some 80 percent of single-use bottles in the U.S. become waste. Inappropriately discarded plastic products can take centuries to completely decompose. It is estimated that Americans disposed of some 38 billion water bottles in 2014, the equivalent of $1 billion worth of plastic. At NOVA, plastic bottles placed in recycling bins are sold by our contracted waste-haulers as a commodity and then recycled into a variety of products; plastic bottles placed in waste bins are incinerated in waste-to-energy plants.
To get started saving money and reducing waste, look for a filling station near you!
Alexandria – AA230, AA157-A
Annandale – CG211, CA115
Loudoun – LC100, LR111
Manassas – MH216
Medical Education – 331
Woodridge – WAS145, RCWETx5
If you are an event planner at NOVA and want to have a “plastic bottle-free” event, you could use a 5-gallon, NOVA-branded water cooler. Contact Rob Johnson if you are interested in borrowing one or more (up to 11) for an event.