Sometimes things don't work out the way they are planned.
Now comes word that a bottled water ban at a university in the Northeast actually led to an increase in the use of plastic bottles on campus.
Sure, there were less plastic water bottles around the campus of the University of Vermont in Burlington, but research in the school's Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences found that the number of plastic bottles in general increased by 6 percent due to the ban.
“In a nutshell, what happened was that the sales of unhealthy drinks went up by 33 percent and there was in fact, even a slight increase in the number of bottles that were shipped to campus. The number of bottles went up by 6 percent,” said faculty member Rachel Johnson said in a recent interview posted on www.globalnews.ca.
Student Elizabeth R. Berman studied the issue for her thesis for the undergraduate honors college program, and Berman and Johnson published a paper in the American Journal of Public Health this summer. The paper is called “The Unintended Consequences of Changes in Beverage Options and the Removal of Bottled Water on a University Campus.”
University leaders are sticking to the bottled water ban, however, and trying to enhance accessibility to water around the campus.
“The university is committed to making water more easily available. They are making water available in all of the fountain drink machines. They are making water available in coolers in all of the dining facilities,” Johnson said during the interview.
These new efforts comes on top of earlier work to retrofit 68 drinking fountains on campus to accommodate refillable water bottles.
Research looked at bottled beverage consumption for three semesters running from the spring of 2012 to the spring of 2013.
While the university is no longer in the bottled water business, students can still independently bring their own stash of bottled water to campus.
A Q&A section on the university's website addresses the issue:
Will I get busted if I bring bottled water to campus?
“No. There will be no bottled water police. The decision is for the University to stop providing it and end sales on campus, not enforce a ban from campus. If you bring bottled water to campus, please recycle the bottle when finished.”