By drinking local water, Georgetown's students, faculty and staff are helping reduce the depletion of global fresh water resources and cutting down on the plastic waste generated by single-serve disposable water bottles.
Georgetown's Think Global, Drink Local initiative is increasing access to to chilled, filtered tap water throughout the campus, making it easy for our community members to choose sustainable tap as their drinking water. Through this effort, the university is helping minimize waste, reducing supply chain environment impacts, and encouraging investment to preserve local water resources.
Carrying a reusable water bottle on campus has a positive global impact. The are numerous reasons to decrease reliance on bottled water. Americans buy over 29 billion plastic water bottles each year, of which, only 1 in 6 makes it to a recycling bin. In addition to plastic litter in oceans and rivers, and the transportation and energy impacts associated with shipping heavy water by truck, the world's potable water sources are being depleted at an unsustainable rate. The United Nations reports that nearly 1 billion people currently lack access to clean water. With the existing climate change scenario, almost half the world's population will be living in areas of high water stress by 2030. While DC is not currently in a water-stressed region, purchasing bottled water can exasperate drought conditions in other parts of the world where the water is bottled.
Georgetown's Think Global, Drink Local effort helps address these impacts. The initiative launched in April, 2012, with the installation of three new water filling stations in honor of Earth Day. Since then, more than two dozen stations have been installed in public locations across campus, with more planned in coming years.
For the first time, in 2013, every incoming freshman received a Think Global, Drink Local reusable water bottle during New Student Orientation. By using a refillable bottle during Orientation alone, new students help keep 9,000 disposable cups and bottles out of the waste stream - enough trash to circle Healy Lawn 4 times! Since 2013, the Office of Sustainability has continued to work with local sponsors to provide each year's incoming freshmen with reusable water bottles. Many students end up using these bottles throughout their 4 years at Georgetown, further contributing to the positive global impact of the Think Global, Drink Local initiative.
Through the initiative, the Office of Sustainability and our partners are working to bring about change by increasing awareness and making it easier for our students, faculty and staff to select more sustainable drinking water.
You can fill you reusable water bottle at 30 filtered water stations around campus, and at any water fountain, sink or Corp cafe (just ask!). Look for water bottle fill stations in:
Did You Know?
- Americans buy over 29 billion water bottles each year. Of those, only 1 in 6 empties makes it to a recycling bin.
- 54 million barrels of oil are used to make and transport plastic water bottles each year—enough to fuel 3 million cars!
- Americans discard more than half a billion water bottles each week—enough bottles to circle the Earth 5 times.
- 75 percent (1 million tons) of plastic bottles end up in landfills, rivers, and as litter in neighborhoods.
The Think Global, Drink Local! initiative is made possible through the support of many offices and organizations across campus, as well as the sponsorship of Direct Energy Business for the re-usable water bottles we distribute to all incoming freshmen