Contributed by eNews Intern Alexandra Figueroa
Did you know that plastic bottles take over 1,000 years to biodegrade? Because they can be recycled and reused, many people think that they are making a good choice when they purchase beverages packaged in plastic bottles. Although this is partially true, only 1 out of 5 bottles end up in a recycling bin and many other bottles are unable to be recycled. According to OneGreenPlanet.org, “Of the mass numbers of plastic bottles consumed throughout the world, most of them are not recycled because only certain types of plastic bottles can be recycled by certain municipalities.” The sad fact is that U.S. landfills are overflowing with plastic bottles that will take centuries to decompose.
More and more, college campuses are implementing environmentally friendly projects to help conserve water, encourage recycling, and help the environment. In that spirit, our very own California State University, Northridge has added recycling bins, a food garden and compost site, and worked with the Farmers Market to make sure that the use of Styrofoam was eliminated. CSUN’s Associated Students has a Sustainability page on their website that highlights many of these projects and shares information about additional efforts across campus. CSUN also launched Brown is the New Green; an initiative which shut off irrigation to large areas of lawn on campus. Once the turf turns brown, it will be replaced with more drought tolerant landscaping. Another earth conscious effort has been the installation of refillable water bottle drinking stations located in Sierra Hall, Juniper Hall, Jacaranda Hall, Nordhoff Hall, Redwood Hall, the Art and Design Center, and the Oviatt Library.
The Oviatt Library installed a refillable water station in the Learning Common’s lobby in 2015. The funding for the Library water station was made available through a Campus Quality Fee (CQF) proposal. CQF funds help to support CSUN projects that are designed to help enhance the learning experiences and overall campus environment for students. The refillable water bottle station in the Oviatt is convenient for students and provides them free, filtered water in their own, reusable bottles. “I think environmental change is a topic that students may not consciously think about on a daily basis,” says Sarah Sayeed, IT coordinator at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Sayeed was the Oviatt’s Learning Commons Support Assistant when she authored the CQF proposal for the refillable water bottle station. “Campus projects like the water station can give gentle reminders to students that something as small as refilling a water bottle at one water station can save thousands of pounds of plastic from entering the earth.”
Projects like the refillable water bottle stations on campus not only help remind students that taking care of our planet matters, but it also provides them with an opportunity to make a more environmentally friendly choice. When asked what she thought about the refillable water bottle drinking station, CSUN student Jasmin Morfin said, “This station has made it convenient for CSUN students to refill their bottles rather than leave the library to go buy another or refill it somewhere else. Furthermore, it has made it economically better for college students – to spend the least amount of money possible on water.” Morfin added that she would like to see more of these stations added to the Library.