Bottled water out of Burlington
With the price of bottled water rising and even less people drinking tap water every day, a movement has begun in Burlington to stop the usage of bottled water and bring people back to drinking from the tap.
|Outdoor filling stations throughout Burlington is a goal set by the "Kick the Bottle" committee.
(Photo courtesy of Dan Sandberg)
Kick the Bottle is a volunteer group started by Leah Wittenberg and Carrie Shamel, both Burlington residents. The goals of Kick the Bottle are simple; they want everyone to stop drinking bottled water and only start drinking from the tap.
Shamel and Wittenberg are working on this issue in a lot of different ways. Their first objective is to have restaurants up and down Church Street participate by having a "Kick the Bottle” sticker in their window, meaning that anyone can come in and fill up their water bottle. They also want restaurants to stop serving bottled water altogether. Though this is a pretty large step, Shamel said she hopes that others will help this movement. She has heard much feedback, both positive and negative, about this project, Shamel said.
“We are working with a lot of organizations including City Hall and the Chittenden Solid Waste Department, so we can really get the wheels moving on this operation,” Shamel said.
She also said a small unofficial group has started within the government of Burlington to help this movement. As of now, the Kick the Bottle committee is trying to pass a bill that says that no public money will go for bottled water. In the end, Shamel and Wittenberg would like taps all over the city where people can just go and fill up their water bottles, and a “Tap Map” for visitors so they know where they can fill up on a hot day.
Though Kick the Bottle is just starting in Burlington, One Less Bottle, a movement started at UVM, has already launched off. One Less Bottle gives stickers to students who use a reusable water bottle. UVM has also placed “water bottle friendly” drinking fountains in the Davis Center, making it easy for students to fill up.
The One Less Bottle campaign started as One Less Cup giving students discounts on coffee if they were to bring their own mug instead of using the one time use paper cups. Said Berman
The program coordinator, Corey Berman, said students are definitely getting the idea of the movement and becoming much more aware. The next step for them would be an outdoor water station, where people could go all the time. Berman said it has been working really well at UVM, but does not know what effect it will have if tried in Burlington.
“I don’t know if Kick the Bottle could work for an entire city,” Berman said. “There are a lot more factors one has to take into account, most of them involving money, how would it be kept up? Would businesses oblige to this idea?”
Colleges do their part
|St. Michael's is still in the planning phase for bringing the movement onto campus.
(Photo by Andrew Lanoue)
Heather Ellis, the sustainability coordinator at St. Michael’s, said it would be very easy for any student who wanted to be a part of this movement to get involved at St. Michael’s.
Right now St. Michael’s is in the planning stage, and talking about what they could possibly do to start a movement like this on campus.
“This project is definitely going to take some time, but persistence pays off,” Ellis said.
UVM is not the only school to start working against bottled water. Washington University has gone as far as to have a “Ban the Bottle” campaign, where there would be no bottled water sold on campus. Ellis said that with the help of the school, and if Kick the Bottle were to really lift off, then that would help the movement here towards having regulations against bottled water at St. Michael’s.