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Eliminating bottled water saves money, reduces waste
Author: Campus Sustainability Office
Posted: September 17, 2012

About a year ago, the Oregon Center for Career Development in Childhood Care & Education (OCCD) at Portland State decided to eliminate the office’s five-gallon bottled water service and opt for an in-sink water filter. And it’s already paying off.

With a staff of 15 people, OCCD was going through approximately six bottles every month. After the staff agreed to make the switch, OCCD submitted a work order through Facilities for the installation of a filter on the cold-water tap, which cost $127 and came with a replacement filter. This up-front cost was recovered after only a few months of drinking from the tap—the department is now saving $30 per month.

In addition to cost savings, OCCD staff have benefited from improved water quality and taste, unlimited water availability, increased storage space, and convenience. As PSU Climate Champions, the department has also reduced its environmental impact, from eliminating emissions associated with the production and delivery of the plastic bottles to the waste those bottles ultimately become.

Since Portland has some of the best tap water in the country, it may not be necessary to install a filter in many PSU buildings, which would increase cost savings for some departments even more.

In 2011, the Sustainable Drinking Water Task Force, a collaborative group of staff and students appointed by President Wiewel, developed a series of recommendations for reducing bottled water consumption on campus. The task force made many recommendations aimed at increasing consumption of tap water on campus and supporting departments in making the shift from bottled water. To learn more about why tap water is more sustainable visit pdx.edu/planning-sustainability/sustainable-drinking-water, and for a map of individual water bottle refilling stations across campus, click here (pdf).