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The first university in Europe to ban bottled water?

In the United States and Canada, many universities have banned the use of bottled water on campus. Who will be the first in Europe?

In 2009, Washington University in St. Louis became the first city to ban bottled water, and many other campuses have followed suit since then. In Canada, the first campus to ban bottled water was the University of Winnipeg in 2009.

Why is it important to ban bottled water? As a student in Winnipeg, Canada, said:

Banning bottled water is just a step towards a broader recognition that water is a basic human right and not a commodity. Refusal to commercialize water by refusing to buy and sell bottled water is the first and important step. Focus on clean, safe, and healthy public water, encourage our decision makers to invest heavily in public water supply infrastructure, and push the Canadian government to extend this infrastructure to northern communities. As students, we are in a unique situation in our institution where there is a group of critical minds who are willing to take initiative and leadership on campus. We hope that other campuses in Canada are willing to take the same measures and oppose the use of water as a commodity.

Compared with tap water delivered through energy-saving infrastructure, bottled water is a very wasteful product. It is usually packaged in disposable plastic bottles made from fossil fuels. In fact, millions of European plastic waste is disposed of every year. According to data from the European plastics industry in 2009, 45% of EU plastics are landfilled and 31% are incinerated, which means that only 22% is actually recycled. Increasing the recovery rate is important, but as far as bottled water is concerned, it only makes sense to work on prevention. Just switch from bottled water to labeled water, and waste can be reduced at the source.

There are examples of governments and schools replacing bottled water. Even in the European Parliament, members of the European Parliament demanded to stop the nonsense of providing bottled water at meetings-which would result in 160 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. However, so far, no European university has taken this step. Do volunteers follow the example of North America? What about European institutions?

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