Filtered water fountains save a ton of plastic, literally

Todd Kleiboer
The filtered water fountain in the Journalism and Computer Science Building has saved 5,188 plastic bottles as of Nov. 6, 2018.

By Phil Boulware | Staff Reporter

The Eco-Reps set goals to focus more awareness on recycling with campus-wide filtered water fountains and conduct weekly checks on fountains around A&M Commerce.

“Our numbers are easily over 50,000 bottles reused,” Ashley McLaurin said. “The water comes from Commerce Water Plant. We provide a filter for students who have complained about Commerce water.”

McLaurin, facilities coordinator of Residential Living & Learning Hall Operations and Sustainability, said it was a slow process at first.

“They all didn’t come at once. We started in the beginning of last year,” she said.

McLaurin said that each resident hall has a water-bottle saving filter installed, with Smith Hall having two.

“New Pride alone have gotten us about 32,000 bottles saved. Whitley Hall last week was at 1,207,” she said.

The Eco Reps want to add more filtered fountains around the campus because of the efficiency of the school’s bottle conservation system.

“The tracking system is very helpful. The light indicates when the filter needs to get changed out by the SSC. They haven’t had to change one yet,” she said.

“The fountains have memory chips installed in them which is why they are quite expensive,” she said.

Ultimately, McLaurin’s goal is to get rid of the traditional water fountains and get more put in halls. They would like to see them gone for serious health concerns.

“Whitley has 12 floors. I’d love to put one on each one. The traditional fountains are unsanitary,” she said.

Laurin feels that providing more access to them would encourage more utilization.

“It’s less spending. Most of the recyclables we receive are of bottles. It gives us positive

feedback,” she said.

Kathy McGrath, Associate Director of Hall Operations, helped present the bottle-saving concept to A&M Commerce.

“She dealt with getting it approved with the university,’’ Laurin said.


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Todd Kleiboer