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Single use water bottle days are numbered at ECU

Monday, 23 July 2018

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ECU will begin phasing out single use plastic water bottles and straws across its three campuses from the start of semester 2 next week as part of a joint initiative with the ECU Guild.

ECU is believed to be the first WA University to limit the use of plastic water bottles on campus.

It follows similar initiatives on the east coast, including the Universities of Canberra, Melbourne, Sunshine Coast and Monash University.

ECU will take a staged approach to restrict single use plastic water bottles. Beginning with the approximately 40 events it holds on campus each year, ECU will instead provide water refill stations.

Similarly, the ECU Guild has pledged to no longer permit the sale of single use plastic water bottles at its events, instead providing hydration stations.

The University is also investigating:

  • Increasing the number of water fountains on campus
  • Discussing with commercial tenants alternatives to single use water bottles
  • Offering free or discounted multi-use water bottles on campus

ECU Vice-Chancellor Professor Steve Chapman CBE said it was a big step forward for the University.

“With around 30,000 students and 1800 staff, we can make a huge difference by taking this first step to limit single use plastic water bottles at our campus events,” Professor Chapman said.

“It’s also financially responsible. More than 90 per cent of the cost of bottled water can be traced back to the bottle, lid and label.

“This is not a ban. This is about education and providing alternatives. By offering high quality, convenient options to students, staff and visitors, we are confident we can reduce the demand for single use plastic water bottles on our campuses.

Fast facts:

  • Most bottled water is packaged in PET plastic bottles which are derived from crude oil. It can take up to 3L of water to produce 1L of water.
  • Transportation of bottled water around the world requires burning of fossil fuels as water is moved by truck, train or air freight – instead of in water pipes.
  • Although plastic bottles are recyclable, many end up in landfill and take up to 1000 years to break down.
  • Over 90% of the cost of a water bottle can be traced back to the bottle, lid and label.
  • Single use water bottles are among the top ten most common items picked up during Clean Up Australia Day.

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