Vanderbilt University Cuts Out Use of Plastic Water and Soda Bottles

Posted on: October 2, 2019

The next step in Vanderbilt University’s plan to become carbon neutral by 2050 –  eliminating plastic bottles. The university began its plan by getting rid of straws and plastic bags in the ’18 school year. This year, they removed plastic water and soda bottles from campus. Students will no longer be able to get these items from school stores, vending machines, or dining halls. Instead, the university provided each student with a reusable water bottle that they can refill at various fill stations around campus.

The reason for the change?

Prior to this change, the university was selling over 430,000 bottles per year. Their research showed that only about 10% of plastic bottles were being recycled, which means the other 90% were being thrown away or littered. Not only are they not being recycled but these plastic bottles take roughly 400 years to breakdown. They decided that this was something they needed to change and to become a pioneer in the space, thus implementing this new policy.

The university has already seen students utilizing their reusable bottles. Students are happy to contribute to reducing their carbon footprint and enjoy being a part of Vanderbilt’s journey to becoming carbon neutral.

How to do your part in bettering the environment

Many of us are already doing small things to reduce our carbon footprint. Any way to utilize less single-use plastic will make a large impact on the environment. The average American uses over 100 plastic water bottles per year and while recycling is helpful, it is far from perfect. Plastic never actually goes away. It is broken down into smaller and smaller pieces that end up being ingested by marine animals and makes it way up the food chain (eventually onto your own plate). While completely eliminating plastic isn’t always practical, reducing the amount you use is the best way to fight climate change. Using your own reusable water bottle will significantly cut down your plastic consumption.

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