University Park, IL,
17:08 PM

GSU is doing its part to help the environment


The GSU Sustainability Committee has saved 93,897 sixteen-ounce water bottles since 2014

Hydration Station 1

Governors State University (GSU) is doing its part to stem the flow of water bottles to local landfills. With strategically placed Hydration Stations across campus, the GSU Sustainability Committee has saved 93,897 sixteen-ounce water bottles – or two and a half tons of plastic - by allowing the reusable containers to be re-filled.

“Taking good care of the planet that we live on is such important work,” said John Potempa, co-chair of GSU’s Sustainability Committee and Associate Vice President of Facilities Development and Management.

Americans throw away 35 billion empty water bottles each year, and only 12 percent of them are recycled, overflowing U.S. landfills with more than 2 million tons of discarded water bottles. Ironically, and more urgently, it takes 1,000 years for the plastic to decompose (until the year 3022). Meanwhile, chemicals leach into the soil and contaminate the water, killing marine life and threatening human life.

Offering an everyday solution to the global crisis, the Sustainability Committee began installing Hydration Stations on campus in 2014 as an opportunity to refill reusable bottles and kick the plastic water bottle habit. The stations also filter water, adding an additional layer of protection. The university’s Emergency Response Team also tests water monthly to ensure it is free of lead and bacteria.

Today, there are nine hydration stations located around campus, and GSU’s Facilities Development and Management Department is installing more throughout the campus this year.  “We are proud of the efforts of the GSU community, and we hope to create increased access to hydration stations so that everyone can participate in this kick-the-habit campaign," said  Potempa.

To do your part to help kick the water bottle habit, here are five things you can do:

1.     Ditch plastic bottles. Use a reusable stainless-steel water bottle instead.

2.     Purchase filters for your refrigerator or faucets and use them to refill your reusable water bottles.

3.     Use water fountains, like Hydration Stations, in your community to refill reusable bottles.

4.     Tell your friends and family about the impact bottled water has on our environment.

5.     Encourage your community to ban plastic water bottles.