On November 1, 2016, Oakton Community College’s “ban the bottle” campaign became official. Bottled water will no longer be sold in our cafeterias, vending machines, or at catered events. This initiative, powered by students in an Honors course and carried on by Students for Social Justice, is a clear example of the broad impact our students can have on their surroundings when they work with dedication, passion, and research. To learn more about their role in making this initiative happen, please check out this Chicago Tribune article from April 2016.
The purpose of the initiative is to draw awareness to the social implications and environmental impacts of the bottling process. Among the many concerns:
- Privatizing water sources drains wells and aquifers, hurting farmers, communities, and ecosystems.
- Bottling companies are not subjected to the same regulatory and health testing as municipal water sources, so it is hard to determne the safety of the water.
- Often, bottling companies are bottling filtered tap water and selling it back to you for 240 to over 10,000 times the cost.
- Three liters of water are required to produce one liter of bottled water and only 27 percent of bottles are properly recycled, ending up in oceans and landfills instead.
To find out more, please visit www.banthebottle.net.
Refill your re-usable bottles with filtered water at our hydration stations in the cafeteria and other sites throughout campus. It is important to note that both Des Plaines and Skokie provide clean, safe drinking water which is subjected to intensive regulatory testing on an annual basis. Please check out their respective websites to download the most recent water quality reports.
As a proactive step in verifying health and safety of drinking water on campus, we worked with a contractor to sample our water fountains and fill stations. The results indicate high water quality on both campuses. Read the full water testing report. Follow up water testing was conducted for points that showed slightly elevated levels of copper, which were eliminated/reduced by flushing the system. It is now part of our regular maintenance schedule to flush to our fountains in order to maintain high water quality.
During the month of October, we also held a water taste test on both campuses to raise awareness of the ban and see if individuals really did have a preference for bottled water. We were pleased to discover that water from our filtered hydration stations on campus came in at the top!
For questions and concerns, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.