Office of Sustainability
The purchase and consumption of purified or filtered water in plastic bottles has become an issue of concern on university campuses, in public restaurants, by government agencies, and by the public, at large; and this concern is especially strong where potable, public water supplies are available. Bottled water has become a touchstone issue related to sustainability practices globally since it focuses on the nature of water for human consumption and whether it should be provided as a high-priced, economic commodity or as a cheaper, publicly provided essential substance for which there is no substitute.
Terps Heart the Tap will reduce the consumption of bottled water and its associated environmental impacts by providing water bottle filling stations in 64 high-traffic locations around campus. Each filling station has a “green counter” that visually displays a count of the number of plastic bottles saved from landfills. By maintaining a count of each station, the Office of Sustainability will be able to track UMD’s progress in reducing landfill waste. For each bottle saved, we will be able to calculate the greenhouse gas emissions associated with their production. Since consumer use will dictate the amount of actual waste reduction, an estimate can be provided. For example, if UMD installs 64 new or retrofitted water filling stations that are used 25 times per day for 130 days per year, this program will reduce nearly 210,000 bottles of water per year.