Consider the following statistics:
- Annually, Penn Staters recycle over 200 tons of plastic bottles (approximately 7.6 million water bottles).
- In the United States, only about 24 percent of disposable plastic bottles are recycled.
- At that rate, approximately 600 tons of bottles are sent to the landfill - sitting there for hundreds of years.
Disposable water bottles consume important resources: petroleum and water. As calculated by the Pacific Institute, in 2006, Americans bought 30 billion plastic water bottles, made from 17 million barrels of petroleum; if transportation of bottles was added to the calculation, this number rises to 50 million barrels of oil annually. Further, to produce these bottles requires three times the volume in water, not counting the water inside each bottle. Finally, bottled water also requires energy throughout its life cycle: to capture, treat and send water to the bottling plant; to fill, package, transport and refrigerate the bottled water; and recycle or dispose of the empty containers.
According to the World Bank, it is currently estimated that:
- One billion people worldwide do not have access to safe drinking water.
- 31 countries are facing water shortages (expected to increase to 48 countries by 2025 and reach 55 countries by mid-century 2050).
- By 2035, three billion people living in water-stressed areas will not have access to safe (clean) water.
- The privatization of water further threatens these shortages.
What We've Done
Water Bottle Refilling Stations are an answer to the inefficiency of our current system of water distribution at Penn State. Through the strategic placement of these stations around Penn State in various buildings, students have access to clean, good-tasting water that quickly and easily will refill their reusable water bottles. It is a popular and sustainable alternative to expensive disposable plastic water bottles.
Penn State’s first refilling station was installed on Earth Day, 2009.Currently, there are almost 20 stations insalled at University Park and a few have been installed in the Commonwealth Campuses. Among the locations that have Refilling Stations at University Park are each of the Student Fitness Centers, the HUB, the Paterno-Pattee Library, Thomas Building, Burrowes Building, and more.
Below are links to Penn State's Hydration Station Business Plan, as well as a link to an example on how to properly use hydration stations.
The OPP plans to install two more waves of stations over the next two years, and possibly more in three. The second year will include another nine buildings that are yet to be determined. In the third year, we hope to extend more buildings to the Commonwealth Campuses.
Installation locations are determined by "high traffic" area criteria that are determined in the following manner:
- Classroom and lab buildings with the over 400 classroom seats/lab spaces, or
- More than 150 rooms assigned to Principal Investigators.
- To determine the threshold, we analyzed the lists of general purpose and departmentally controlled classrooms, as well as the list of Private Investigator assigned spaces.
- From those lists we determined breaking points.
For those in buildings that do not meet the classroom seat and Principle Investigator Room criteria, the Colleges or Units will be asked to pay for the stations and the installation. OPP will service them with routine filter replacement and repairs. To request a station, a unit should put in a work order request. OPP’s estimators and plumbers will decide on the type of unit to install, taking into consideration the model of water fountain already present.
Proposed - 1st Year
|IM Building||Business Building|
|HUB (Three total)||IST Building|
|Findlay Commons||Life Sciences Building|
|Pattee Library||Agricultural Science and Industry Building|
|Bank of America Building|
|OPP (Three total)|