Our vision is to work to bring about a positive policy change at St. Olaf College. We seek to eliminate the sale and distribution of bottled water on campus.
Why? In the U.S., plastic bottles create 2.7 billion pounds of plastic waste per year, 86% of which ends up in the garbage or as litter. On the Hill, single use plastic bottles contribute to our waste stream as trash, recycling, and litter. Transporting bottled water requires an enormous amount of petroleum, and drinking tap water avoids the unnecessary use of fossil fuels. Consuming bottled water supports an industry that makes billions of dollars off of fear and has privatized a commodity that should be free. In a recent taste test survey of St. Olaf Students, more than 60% of the participants could not differentiate between bottled water and tap water, or they guessed wrong when asked to identify which was which.
Is this campus-wide change unprecedented? No. Macalester College and the College of St. Benedict have already eliminated the sale and distribution of bottled water, and a bottled water ban would strengthen St. Olaf College’s commitment to encourage students to act as “responsible and knowledgeable citizens of the world.”