Two weeks ago, The New School Free Press reporter Chelsea Fisher covered the water bottle ban effective in New School cafeterias. The article makes great mention of ReNewschool’s involvement in the elimination process, a great boost for our on campus presence and that of the whole environmental studies department. Read the full article below. Erica Schapiro-Sakashita 10/9/09
As part of a broader effort toward environmental sustainability, The New School stopped selling plastic water bottles at the beginning of the semester. ReNew School, the New School’s student club for sustainability, started petitioning last year for the removal of plastic bottles. “We have been in direct contact with The University Student Senate as well as university administrators.” Said Xandre Wolf, president of ReNew School. “ReNewSchool is incredibly lucky to be working with receptive members of the university who are excited by our goals for a more sustainable New School.”
Plastic Water bottles are extremely wasteful in all parts of the process. Manufacturing the bottles, shipping them, and finally the energy used recycling them, if they’re not thrown away. “By banning bottled water from campus, The New School sends a clear message to the community and takes a clear position on its environmental position.” said Wolf.
New York City gets most of its water from the Catskill watershed, a group of reservoirs in upstate NY. It provides water clean enough to remain unfiltered, according to the EPA. By pushing students to use tap water, ReNew School hopes to support New York City’s environmentally conscious decision to invest in the Catskills. Rather than constructing a large treatment plant that would cost the city billions, the government decided to buy the areas surrounding the reservoirs to stop development and pollution in the Catskills.
New Schoolers who forget their water bottles will still be able to hydrate. “There’s a sustainable plastic cup that is made with biodegradable plastic you can use to fill with tap water” Said Frank Monahan Director of Dining Services. “We are going to introduce that hopefully by the beginning of this week,” The Cafes are also going to charge only $0.99 cents for a refill if you bring in or purchase a reusable mug.
Another issue surrounding bottled water is water privatization. Renew School members are hoping that the stir surrounding the lack of bottled water will bring to light these problems. Water is becoming one of the World’s most profitable industries. “They [water companies] buy land that has a water source so that it is no longer public.” said Erica Schapiro-Sakashita, Renew School member and environmental studies major at Lang. “They then sell it back to the community at a higher cost. It is then shipped all over the world, and depletes the naturally occurring water system in the area.”