University to become a water refill campus

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University to become a water refill campus

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Published on 21 July 2014

The University of the Sunshine Coast will declare itself a water refill campus tomorrow (Tuesday 22 July) in a move expected to reduce the number of water bottles used each year by at least 40,000.

USC will unveil three impressive water refill machines that will supply micro-filtered still and sparkling water at a much cheaper price than bottled water.

These Pro Acqua Water Refill Machines will add to the University’s existing 18 free bubbler stations and 50 water fountains, providing a range of water refill options for staff, students and visitors.

Planet Ark co-founder and Do Something! Managing Director Jon Dee will officially launch the refill machines in a ceremony from 12.30pm to 1pm that will include speeches by USC’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Birgit Lohmann and Pro Acqua Director Joe Muscara.

Professor Lohmann said the move to phase out the sale of bottled water on campus stemmed from a student’s suggestion that was presented to USC’s Sustainability Management Committee in 2013.

“One of the issues that came up last year was the environmental impacts of ‘bottling’ a readily available commodity such as water and whether or not USC should be selling bottled water on campus,” she said.

Professor Lohmann said a survey of students and staff about phasing out the sale of bottled water in association with the introduction of filtered water facilities and re-usable bottles found strong support for the new scheme.

“This initiative aligns with the University’s goal to reduce waste going to landfill and empowers the USC community to be environmentally responsible through providing a variety of alternative choices,” she said.

Jon Dee praised USC's decision to phase out the sale of bottled water and provide its staff and students with a wide range of bubblers, fountains and chilled water refill units.

“It sets a very positive role model for other universities to follow,” he said. “It will also save the students from having to spend so much money on bottled water.”

Details about using the water refill machines will be provided to new students during Orientation Week this week.

— Terry Walsh

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