Hydration stations sweep colleges to promote tap water

October 21, 2011

Within an eco-friendly campaign, hundreds of colleges in U.S. have installed —and keep on doing it— water fountains that students know as hydration stations so that water bottles can be refilled instead buying new ones. In some campuses even selling water bottles is prohibited. These movements answer to the requirement of reducing wasting plastic practices. 

Now, we can find hydration stations not only at schools, they are also coming up in airports, parks, office buildings; the ‘refilling strategy’ has reached even artist tours, including the Black Eyed Peas. These efforts involve healthy habits in the reducing plastic waste plan, instead of promoting tap water which might not be an improvement for children nutrition.

In addition, there are more initiatives: more than 800 restaurants and cafes across U.S. have agreed to refill reusable bottles that people can bring with them with free water. TapIt Water http://tapitwater.com/, a non-profit group launched in 2009 and based in New York, together with city governments designed a strategy to sign up eateries in 23 states.

Rod Magnuson, of Elkay http://www.elkayusa.com, a company that began installing different versions of the water stations last year said: "It's the right product at the right time".
On her side, Katy Loos, Elkay spokeswoman reported that at the end of the last year, more than 150 colleges and universities had installed its refilling stations and about the same number of Brita ones.

Is this affecting bottled water industry? Last year in U.S., after two years of stagnation, consumption rose 3.5%, according to the International Bottled Water Association. Tom Lauria, from IBWA, said "It has a following that's strong" especially by promoting an easier recycling of plastic bottles. In response to the question of whether hydration stations will affect industry sales, Lauria also said: "There's probably enough room for both."

In any case, this campaign acts on behalf of the environment, which today should be a priority for any industry. Europe is strongly concerned about the need of setting suitable policies to improve the environment, and those kinds of campaigns should be seen not as a threat to the watercooler industry, but as an opportunity to benefit from the awareness of people about healthy hydration and become stronger with the development of the POU.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Photo credits