21 September 2011

A new water refill station has been installed at the UQ St Lucia campus to raise student and staff awareness of the option to say no to bottled water, and save money.

The water refill station is at Staff House Road, near the Commonwealth Bank.

It is an environmental engagement and awareness initiative by the Sustainability Office in UQ’s Property and Facilities (P & F) Division.

If the trial of the first station proves successful, the University’s students and staff can expect more refilling stations to arrive at UQ before Christmas.

UQ P & F Sustainability Coordinator Suzanne Davis said that most Australians were not aware that purchasing bottled water was costly to both the environment and to the wallet.

“It probably never occurs to you that when spending to buy one standard 600ml bottled water you might as well buy 1,000 litres of tap water,” Ms Davis said.

“Every year Australians spend more than $400 million on bottled water which has a carbon footprint 300 times greater than tap water.”

Deputy Director of UQ P&F division Geoff Dennis said that bottled water was a serious environmental problem.

“After consumption, approximately 65 per cent of plastic drink bottles end up in landfill with only 35 per cent being recycled,” Mr Dennis said.

“Those that are recycled consume energy and other resources to recycle them.”

“Empty bottles can also be end up as litter and can also have a negative impact on campus biodiversity systems.”

The trial station is made of stainless steel providing safe tap water for drinking.

And more options will be available depending on the trial result.

“There will also be future trials of filtered chilled units,” Mr Dennis said.

Different to the existing water fountains that were mainly designed for drinking, all the new stations will be designed for both bubbler and refilling purposes.

“The stations will be equipped with two water bottle refill taps at different heights to ensure disability access and a centre bubbler for drinking,” Ms Davis said.

The Sustainability Office has provided the following EcoTips to share with members of the UQ community wishing to say no to bottled water.

1. Purchase a reusable water bottle (a good quality bottle can pay for itself within five refills)
2. Fill your bottle in the morning and pop in your bag for the day
3. Top up your bottle during the day
4. Visit the new water refill station located at the end of Staff House Road at St Lucia outside the Commonwealth Bank. (More stations are due to be installed across multiple campuses)
5. Encourage others to say no to bottled water.

Media: Ariel Ho +61 7 3365 1120