Michelle Camp

Andrew Townsend, assistant director for the Campus Environment Center, gives out information on the organization’s campaign to ban disposable plastic water bottles to senior advertising major Josh Berman. The group asked students on West Mall Tuesday to sign a petition to prohibit the bottles on campus.

Photo Credit: Mary Kang | Daily Texan Staff

With a trailer full of recyclables parked on the West Mall early Tuesday morning, a student group hoped to bring awareness to their campaign to ban disposable plastic water bottles on campus.

The student group, the Campus Environmental Center, used the event to celebrate the national America Recycles Day which took place Nov. 15 and to revamp its “Refill, Not Landfill” campaign against plastic bottles.

The CEC started the campaign in 2010 in an effort to reduce human impact on the environment, group director Michelle Camp said.

“We’re here to educate students about plastics, how they’re produced and what happens to them after they’re used,” Camp said. “We’re giving out reusable bottles and encouraging students to use them instead of disposable plastic bottles.”

A ban on the sale of water bottles on college campuses has already been implemented in other schools including Seattle University, Belmont University and the University of Portland, Camp said.

“The campaign has no definite end and will go on as long as there are people passionate about it,” Camp said. “Our end goal is for there to be no plastic bottles sold on campus at all.”

Because the campaign is in its early stages, Carson Chavana, CEC assistant director of recycling, said they have not yet felt opposition regarding the ban on plastic bottles.

“We aren’t ignorant to the idea that it might sound like kind of a big change to students at first, but I think that when we clearly present these other options and show students that it’s actually safer to drink out of reusable water bottles,” Chavana said.

She said municipal water supplies are more closely regulated than bottled water, and the plastic in water bottles can release toxins that endanger human health.

Plans to improve UT recycling efforts include implementing standardized indoor recycling bins that all look the same, said Karen Blaney, program coordinator in the Office of Campus Planning and Facilities Management.

Students need to keep pressure on the administration and facility services to stress the need for recycling and prove they can recycle correctly, Blaney said.

Printed on Wednesday, November 23, 2011 as: Center seeks to ban plastic water bottles