Students to vote on bottled water ban

STUDENTS at the University of Sheffield will vote this month on whether to stop selling bottled water in union shops.

Already counterparts in Leeds have opted to sell re-usable bottles and provide more free and easily accessible water fountains around the union.

Now a ‘Bottle Out! Sheffield’ campaign has been launched by the university’s People and Planet Society and Ethical and Environmental Committee.

Luke Gibson, a People and Planet activist, said: “Bottled water is one of the most successful marketing ploys ever, with the industry making millions, despite bottled water being thousands of times more expensive than tap water, as well as extremely damaging for the environment.

“Gallon for gallon, bottled water costs more than gasoline and is estimated to be on average 500 times more expensive than tap water, a ridiculous cost that students can’t afford, especially with fees due to rise.”

Katherine Stewart, president of the Ethical and Environmental Committee, said bottled water also had “a huge environmental impact”, using 2.7 million tons of plastic each year and taking up to three litres of water to manufacture a one-litre plastic bottle.

The campaign is part of a global movement to boycott bottled water. Bundanoon, a rural town in Australia, became the first community in the world to ban the sale of bottled water in 2009 after pressure from Huw Kingston, who runs an outdoor activities business and whose parents live in Sandygate.

Leeds University Union sold its last bottle of water in February last year after a referendum showed overwhelming student support for the replacement of water bottles with free water fountains where students could fill up their own bottles.