Before class, I like to fill up a bottle of water so that I have something on hand in the event that my throat becomes parched from all the talking that one naturally does as a lecturer. Not so long ago McGill University‘s Bronfman building installed a new filling station to make it easier to use reusable bottles, as many people have started to carry such objects rather than buying bottled water.
What is interesting to me about this particular station, the EZH2O by Elkay, is that there is a tiny digital display that accompanies the statement “Helped eliminate waste from [number on the Green Ticker display] disposable plastic bottles.” This gives those of us who use the station a good feeling for helping to eliminate waste, while also demonstrating to us that many people are participating in the project to decrease the use of disposable plastic bottles. At the time of writing the filling station on the ground floor of the Bronfman building has over 31,000 bottles of water tracked, and I know that this number had at one time been reset to zero, presumably during some maintenance. Both reward and the creation of new norms can help motivate people to continue to bring their own bottle to school or work, so while this feature is aesthetically quite basic, is may go some way to reinforcing pro-environmental behavior in a setting outside of the home.
If it isn’t clear as to way you might want to avoid drinking bottled water, please watch the video below, “The Story of Bottled Water”.