Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

New hydration stations aim to reduce plastic waste across campus

Fullerton College is taking a step in becoming a more environmentally friendly campus, by installing water stations in certain buildings to reduce plastic bottle usage.

Students and professors are taking notice of new hydration stations around campus, that make it easier to refill reusable water bottles.

The stations look similar to any other water fountain around campus, but with an over hanging extra spout to refill bottles. There’s a motion sensor that can detect when a water bottle is positioned under the spout and is ready to be refilled. Above, there’s a digital counter that tells you how many plastic bottles that individual hydration station has saved.

Hydration Station 1.
One of the 23 recently installed hydration stations located all across the Fullerton College campus. Student can re-fill their water bottles all for free. Photo credit: Victoria Nicholls

You can find the 23 different hydration stations in the cafeteria, the 100, 400, 600, 700, 800, 900, 1000, 1100,1200,1300,1400,1700, 2000, and 3000 buildings. As well as by the entrance of the pool.

These stations have saved over 168,000 water bottles since January 23rd according to College President Greg Shulz. These are plastic water bottles that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill or our oceans. Having these stations on campus makes it easier for students and faculty alike to do their part in keeping our Earth and our campus clean.

Professors like Tim Morris, who teaches Environmental biology, have also taken note of these stations. Morris elaborates more on how long it takes for plastic to decompose in landfills.

“There’s so many forms of plastic, it all depends on the environment in which you expose it to. If you put it underground, it might take a long time. If it’s cold underground, it might take hundreds of years. If it’s hot underground and moist, it might take 20-30 years,” said Morris.

He also explains that while we may have the best intentions in recycling our plastic bottles, we aren’t doing as much as we hope we are. Since most of the plastic we do recycle is outsourced to other countries, and only a small percentage of it actually gets recycled.

“Recycling plastic is not a very profitable business. Despite our best intentions, there is a high probability it is not going to get recycled. And that is completely out of our control,” added Morris.

plastic waste 2
A Forbes statistic says that 91% of plastic waste never gets recycled. In fact most plastic waste end up making its way into storm drains. Photo credit: Anthony Robles

Before the stations were installed, the only place to refill water bottles on campus would have been the carafes that were set up in the cafeteria and water fountains around the buildings.

Foreign Language and Communications major Ita Palma, said she noticed the stations around campus last year.

She mentions that these stations encourage her to actually refill the water bottle she brings on campus everyday and prefers them towards the previous options.

“Your only other option was to refill at a water fountain,” said Palma, “but that’s an awkward angle if you have a really big bottle.

Fullerton College student Euridice Luna, says she only took note of the stations last semester when a friend pointed them out to her. She expressed her concern over the issue of plastic waste.

“Plastics we first started developing in the 1900’s are still on Earth today, and we’re going to die before they’re gone.” said Luna.

If you are interested in getting a reusable water bottle to bring to campus, they can be found at Target, Walmart, online at Amazon, or even across the street at the Fullerton College bookstore.

Hydro flask
The Fullerton College Bookstore sells Hydro Flasks that can be used at the hydration stations throughout campus. Photo credit: Fullerton College Administration

According to Professor Morris, a lot of bottles are left in his class rooms. Although they are better than plastic water bottles and pay for themselves after a few refills, a tremendous amount of resources are still used to create these bottles.

“If people tend to leave those behind, and they get thrown out, there may not be a net benefit to having these water stations. So, if you’re going to use water stations, and use a permanent bottle, don’t lose the bottle. Otherwise you defeat the purpose.” said Morris.