West Virginia University just made it one step easier to be eco-friendly on campus.

Plastic water bottles generate waste, especially when not recycled, so bringing your own sturdy container is earth conscious. But traditional water fountains weren’t designed to refill tall bottles.

Jeffrey Dunbar, assistant director at the Mountainlair, said he didn’t notice the struggles students and staff had filling their water bottles until he returned from a conference where he learned that bottle filling stations are one of the 90 hot new items in student unions.

Over the winter break, WVU staff installed a bottle filling station on the Mountainlair’s second floor across from the Mountaineer Room. Mountainlair administration and Barbara Angeletti, recycling coordinator at WVU, cooperated in the purchase and installation.

Since the system was installed, it’s seen approximately 900 uses.

Dunbar said the station that fills upright bottles is an easier and more hygienic way for students and staff to fill their water bottles. It has a special filtration system that is replaced after every 3,000 uses. The filling station tracks the number of uses and notifies workers when the filter should be changed.

“It’s a nice program between the recycling office and the Mountainlair to provide our students with a more hygienic and efficient way to fill their water bottles,” he said. “We’re excited that we’re one of the few student unions that has this set up.”

Angeletti said the system is a step in the right direction and encourages the WVU community to use reusable bottles.

She said using reusable bottles would cut down on the use of plastic. In 2009, the University recycled 1.5 million plastic bottles. And any bottles thrown in the trash aren’t part of that number.

By bringing your own bottle “there’s potential to save an awful lot of plastic,” she said.

Water will be the focus Tuesday, Feb. 8, during WVU’s Sustainable Awareness Week. To find out more about sustainability on campus, visit http://wecan.wvu.edu/



CONTACT: Jeff Dunbar, Mountainlair
304-293-6027, Jeff.Dunbar@mail.wvu.edu

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