Student Center reduces plastic waste

By Ke’Undra Bishop

The UK Student Center is  reducing plastic waste in an attempt to go green.

Each year, 38 billion plastic bottles are wasted.  In an effort to reduce this number, the management came up with an environmental plan during the past summer.

The Student Center is the first building on campus to install Elkay EzH20 refillable water bottle fountains. This system allows water bottles to be refilled up to three times before recycling them, an attempt to improve the environment every time a bottle is saved.

Cat’s Den coordinator Jeremy Ridgeway said many people don’t know that 80% of manufacturing goes into the bottle itself, and this is why saving them is a huge issue.

The specialized water fountain will not only refill water bottles, but dispense purified water as well. The fountain has a platform in the middle where the bottle is placed, with a sensor that lets the fountain know when to fill the bottle.  There is also a regular water fountain spout attached.

“We want to save 100,000 bottles by the end of the semester, but at this moment we have saved 40,300 bottles,” Ridgeway said.

The Student Center will also be selling a 16oz stainless steel bottle for $8. Because the bottle will never have to be thrown away, the student center sees it as beneficial to the environment in preventing plastic waste as well as saving the consumer money from continually buying plastic bottles.

Although the bottle sells from time to time, the Cat’s Den staff is trying to figure out ways to better.

“We want to get a word out to students,” Ridgeway said.

Some UK students are already becoming accustomed to using the new fountains.

“I like the water fountains, and use them at least twice a week,” junior Ryan Duffy said.

Ridgeway said William T. Young Library is also thinking about installing a few of the water fountains and joining the student center in reducing plastic waste and continuing to go green.