Plastic-free pledge

By Stephanie Barrett | April 28, 2010

The Marine Institute is celebrating the installation of a new 'hydration station' -- a water-dispensing device where people can fill up bottles twice as fast as a standard drinking fountain allows. The station, located outside the cafeteria, is touch-free: an electric sensor triggers the water's release.

The institute has installed the unit to encourage the campus community to switch to reusable water bottles, foregoing the use of soft-plastic ones that are adding to the nation's growing disposal problems.

Mary Pippy, chair of the Marine Institute’s Sustainability Committee (MISC), said that it is a step in the right direction to promoting a green community within the institute.

“The sustainability office issued an employee water survey during the summer of 2009 to determine water uses and perceptions of water at Memorial. Results of the survey indicated that access to drinking water in the building was an issue, so the MISC endeavored to have new drinking water fountains installed on the Ridge Road campus,” she said. “With the support of the MI executive committee, funding was obtained from the sustainability office’s budget and we received approval to install two units -- one near the gymnasium, the other by the cafeteria.”

The hydration station processes tap water into pure water using state-of-the-art filtration technologies. Before water reaches the nozzle, it runs through an NSF-certified filter to remove sediment, chlorine taste and odor. The system provides a hygienic, safe source for refilling personal re-usable bottles.

“The hydration stations are part of the institute’s initiative to diminish its environmental impact,” said Glenn Blackwood, executive director, Marine Institute. "The MISC is continually looking for ways to embed environmental sustainability into the institute’s day-to-day operations and the hydration station is the perfect answer to finding ways to diminish our environmental impact and incorporate green living into our corporate culture.”

To date, a number of initiatives have been implemented by the MISC to ensure that MI campuses demonstrate continual improvement of all of its activities that affect the environment. Some of these initiatives include the implementation of paperless paystubs and the addition of recycling units for paper products and drink containers to all classrooms and laboratories on campus.

One of the areas that implemented significant changes this year was the Cafeteria, Catering, and Conferences unit. Styrofoam soup bowls were replaced with a paper-based product, plastic cutlery was replaced with bio-degradable plastic forks, knives, and spoons and a new Coffee Club program was implemented to promote the use of real mugs by offering discounted rates for coffee and tea products.

After the launch of the hydration sStation, the Marine Institute Student Union was on hand to give away free re-usable water bottles, donated by the Canadian Federation of Students.


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