No more disposable plastic water bottles at the UU
The decision to replace a part of the plastic bottles with refillable variant fits within UU's ambition to be CO2 neutral by 2030. By producing less plastic waste, less CO2 is emitted. Sparkling water and other soft drinks will remain in the disposable bottles.
The idea is not completely new. Three years ago, Rik van Huik won the Greenovation Challenge from the Green Office and the University Council with his proposal to replace disposable water bottles with UU-doppers. A call that Professor of Quantitative Water Management Ruud Schotting repeated two years ago. “If UU should indeed take on its social responsibility for sustainability, I call on the Executive Board and the faculty boards to immediately prohibit the sale of flat water in plastic bottles in the university buildings. Quit this nonsense! Get rid of it!” That was not so easy, however, because the vending machines are not owned by the UU.
With the contacting of the new vending machines, therefore, the desire to offer refillable bottles has been included. As a result, the change is now possible. Since the introduction of new machines in September 2017, the use of refillable water bottles has already been promoted. Students and staff can fill their dopper-bottles for free with cold tap water at the coffee machines. For every litre of water that is "tapped", a litre of clean drinking water is donated to a developing country. That policy is now being expanded. Starting February, the blue Chaudfontaine bottles will disappear in the soda vending machine and water bottles of Join the Pipe will return in their place (€ 4.95 each). The water bottles in the vending machines will be filled with tap water, because otherwise they are too light and cause malfunctions. The company Join the Pipe donates, for each bottle sold, a water bottle to a schoolchild in a developing country.
Caterer Sodexo will sell less mineral water in disposable bottles in the canteens from the beginning of February as well. A refillable alternative will also be offered in the canteens.