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Bottled water ban: coming to a campus near you?

Posted by: Jenna Ross Updated: September 6, 2011 - 10:17 AM

This fall, two Minnesota colleges banned bottled water. Read Sunday's article about their reasoning here.

Many students believe bottled water is costly and wasteful -- and a 2009 report by the Government Accountability Office proves them right. A policy at the College of St. Benedict bans the sale and use of school dollars on bottled water. (If a student wants to buy bottled water off campus and bring the bottle to class, he or she is free to do so.)

But is a ban the right move?

Some eco-conscious schools have decided against a ban, promoting tap water instead. Some worry that taking bottled water away as an option in the vending machines might push people toward pop. Or that a ban is the wrong direction, philosophically.

Troy Goodnough, the campus sustainability coordinator at the University of Minnesota, Morris, ended an email to me with this thought:

We have not banned bottled water. I don't think we will. We are practicing a bit of choice architecture. Have you read Nudge? The idea is pretty simple: You don't take away the deep-fried pork rinds in the buffet line... you put the fruit first.

Students, staff, faculty: What do you think? Should your campus ban bottled water? Promote tap? Why or why not? 

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