Algonquin is open to accepting new vendors for water sales.
Increasing pressure for a plastic bottle-free campus has led the college to invite a current eco-friendly provider, Flow Water, to campus in March.
The company will be showing its Tetra Pak carton packaging, in a bid to improve water awareness.
World Water Day is March 22, and Flow Water will be part of a “water discussion” held on campus that day.
Students, faculty and consumers are invited to speak out about their water concerns during this event.
Banning single-use plastic water bottles has been an issue brought forward from members of the school community since as early as 2013.
Kathryn Reilander, the coordinator of electrical engineering technology and a full-time professor, came forward about single-use plastics and “banning the bottle” numerous times.
“I am very passionate about banning plastic bottled water, especially products from Nestlé because of their poor environmental and business ethics,” said Reilander.
Nestlé Pure Life is the number one bottled water brand in Canada. The company’s success is not without involvements in humanitarian issues however.
According to an Oct.4, 2018 article posted by The Guardian, residents of a southern Ontario town, just over an hour from Toronto, are living without access to clean water.
The article states:
“Meanwhile, while Thomas and her family do without water, the beverage company Nestlé extracts millions of litres of water daily from Six Nations treaty land.”
Reilander advocates for issues like this to be ceased.
“I believe that access to clean drinking water is a human right that the government should protect – not privatize for profit,” Reilander said.
Director of campus services, Brent Brownlee, says he sees different opportunities for purchasing and providing water on campus.
“Water refill stations have been added in new buildings in hopes of reducing single-use containers,” said Brownlee.
Another change to Algonquin’s water delivery over the years, is the implementation of coolers instead of bottles during catered events.
“For major events of 1,000 people we use big blue coolers that participants can use to fill up their eco-friendly containers,” said Brownlee.
In a world that seems to be slowly focusing more on environmental impacts, Brownlee said it is important that people continue to speak out.
“Answers will be provided by companies, if we push them to do better they will,” Brownlee said.
Is bottled water a concern?
Brownlee said campus services received over 23,000 interactions with no comments made on bottled water.
Is Nestlé to blame?
According to Brownlee, the company is “leading research into eliminating non- recyclable packaging.”
Nestlé is one of many water companies partnered with the school. In 2013, the school made almost $50,000 in Smart Water sales alone.
Brownlee described the school as a service provider “trying to make life easier” for students. He said they are open to eco-friendlier alternatives in the future.
“We are open to and flexible to who supplies water. I am looking forward to World Water Day and finding ways to improve services and opportunities for partners,” said Brownlee.