Students thirsting to join Virginia Tech’s sustainability efforts can now participate in Housing and Dining Services’ new reusable water bottle program.
Alex Funk, head of the sustainability committee for the Student Government Association, said he became involved in the process of searching for a reusable water bottle last semester when a bill was introduced to the SGA legislative system that called for the phasing out of plastic water bottles from dining halls.
“The goal is to phase out plastic water bottles just from dining centers beginning in spring 2011,” Funk said.
The 750-milliliter bottles are made of stainless steel, which Budowle said was an important specification for durability. Another crucial specification deals with food safety. The bottle had to meet Virginia health code standards to be officially sold by Housing and Dining Services.
Rachael Budowle, sustainability coordinator for Housing and Dining Services, said she has been working with student members of the Environmental Coalition and the SGA for over a year to attempt to establish a sustainable water bottle program.
“It’s made of steel, so it’s easy to clean,” she said. “Also, the drinking surface is different from the filling surface.”
The bottle features a plastic top that screws off. When students fill the bottle, they will fill it through the wide mouth of the bottle, then replace the top and drink through the mouthpiece, which is covered by a flip-open cover. Budowle said it was important that the filling surface and the drinking surface not be the same.
“This is the only reusable water bottle approved for use by Housing and Dining Services,” she said.
The cost of the bottle is $10 for cash or Dining Dollars and $20 for Flex Dollars. Budowle said the bottle would pay for itself for frequent water drinkers, especially those who use more expensive branded water bottles, such as Sigg, Nalgene, or CamelBak, or buy a bottle of water every day.
“The bottle is really affordable for students. Any of the nicer ones are going to be more expensive,” she said. “By avoiding one bottle of water a day, you can save $10 in eight days.”
Students can also use the bottle for soda. Housing and Dining Services estimated that students would save a total of $84 over all four years of college if they did not buy a soda cup every day. Students using the bottle for soda will save 10 cents. Water is free.
The bottle is not approved for holding milk, juice or coffee.