BMUN Sustainability Blog

Coming to the conference? Bring or buy a canteen!

Hey everyone,

We are so excited to see you in just a few days! All of us here in BMUN have been busily preparing for your arrival. Like I mentioned last week, the sustainability staff has been preparing in lots of ways for this imgp8070conference, too, and I wanted to take a moment just to remind you to bring your reusable canteen, or alternatively to bring $10 to buy one of BMUN’s stylish blue stainless steel bottles! There’s me on the left holding one.

There will be signs directing you to water fountains on campus where you can fill up during the conference weekend. We will not be selling water bottles at the dance, and we encourage all of you to participate in our greening activities by avoiding the use of individual plastic bottles over the weekend if you can help it. We’re hoping to achieve a 75% waste diversion rate – help us reach our target! We’ll be dividing our trash into recyclables, compost and waste, and you’ll learn how to sort these things if you’re not sure.

Can’t wait for BMUN 57!



Why We’re Nixing Water Bottles

There’s a major facet of BMUN’s greening efforts that I’d like to tell you a bit about today. It has to do with something you may use on a daily basis, but most of us probably don’t think twice about. However, eliminating this product is one of the easiest ways that ALL of us can “green” our living habits. Any ideas? It’s bottled water! One of BMUN’s big goals this year is to eliminate the use of bottled water throughout the conference.

Some of you may be wondering what’s so bad about bottled water. After all, the ads tell you it’s cheap, convenient, and healthy, right? Well here’s a few facts for you to consider.

If you think packaged bottled water is cheap at about 20 oz for $1, you’re wrong. At this price, it’s more expensive than gasoline! There are 128 oz in a gallon, and at today’s Californian average of $2.73 a gallon – which is way cheaper than it was even a month ago , well, you do the math. You’re paying at least $6 a gallon for that convenient tote-able disposable bottled water. Not only that, bottled water is exorbitantly expensive when compared to tap water. Get this: an equivalent amount of 20 oz of tap water costs around 1/500 of a cent. That makes bottled water literally thousands of times more expensive than water from the tap.

As for the convenience of bottled water, that’s also a constructed concept. Just a generation ago, bottled water was not a marketable product. But major soft drink companies decided to begin advertising the idea for a major profit, and now it’s become commonplace in American society. The commodification of bottled water has wreaked havoc on our environment since its introduction into convenience stores and gas stations. Did you know that as much as 86% of water bottles} don’t make it to the recycling bin? Furthermore, the shipping of plastic water bottles across transnational boundaries just so that we can sip spring water from a faraway country’s idyllic springs is craziness when we have such high quality water coming from the tap. Shipping emissions generated in bottled water’s transport are contributing heavily to the carbon footprint of this unsustainable good, and even the plastic it’s packaged in required the use of petroleum. There are lots of negative externalities associated with the production and transportation of water bottles that you might not realize when you buy that shiny clean plastic bottle off the shelf of your local supermarket.

Finally, bottled water is not healthier for you than tap water, nor is it safer. That’s another misconception encouraged by the bottled water companies. Municipal tap water is typically tested thousands of times per month for a level of quality that meets the standards of the Environmental Protection Agency. By comparison, bottled water is regulated by the understaffed and overworked Food and Drug Administration, and there are restrictions as to what bottles it tests and how often.

Okay, enough, I’m sold! What’s the solution, you ask? Well, try a re-useable canteen or thermos! It’s just about the same size as a water bottle, so it’s portable, but not nearly as polluting. The cost of a nice stainless steel canteen will pay for itself after about 10 uses, and you can feel happy in the knowledge that it’s much greener in the long-term than a disposable plastic bottle. Klean Kanteen makes some really good ones that are sold everywhere from sustainably minded grocery stores to outdoors / recreational fitness shops. OR (warning: shameless plug for our product here) you can come buy one of our beautiful stainless steel canteens with the BMUN logo at the conference! They’ll be on sale throughout the conference weekend for the price of only $10! They’re really good-looking, too.

That’s all from me for now. Let me know if you have questions or comments!