University provided each graduating student with a stainless steel water bottle
Many colleges and universities have joined the movement to ban bottled water from their dining halls and campuses. The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) considered research on the number of water bottles that get recycled and the number that end up in landfills each year. The research led Caltech to decide not to use bottled water for its 2011 commencement ceremony. The university partnered with local water filter manufacturer LifeSource Water Systems to provide filtered tap water on the day of the big event.
Graduating students were given reusable stainless steel water bottles with the Caltech logo along with their diplomas. "The best way to change habits is to start with a better alternative. A stainless [steel water] bottle is a great way to carry water with you at all times," said John Onderdonk, Caltech manager of sustainability programs. "Fill that bottle with filtered water and you've got a convenient solution that's good for your health and the environment."
Other attendees were served water in compostable cups and were encouraged to refill them as often as they liked. "At the end of last year's ceremony, our groundskeepers found hundreds of bottles still nearly full and many more empty water bottles littering the lawn," said Delmy Emerson, Caltech director of building and grounds. "This year, less than a handful of empties brought in by guests were left behind for disposal."
"A gallon of bottled water can cost anywhere from $0.79 to $15. Tap water from your local water agency sold by the hundred cubic feet, costs roughly $2.50 for 748 gal of water," said Pam Batra, LifeSource factory representative. "Saving money and protecting the planet can go hand in hand."