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UI Community Adopted 400+ Water Bottles and Mugs

Over the past year, more than 400 reusable bottles and mugs have found a home outside the landfill thanks to the Office of Sustainability’s adopt-a-bottle program.

The purpose of the program is not only to reduce the number of water bottles entering the landfill, but also to encourage reusing containers instead of disposable ones.

The bottles and mugs start their journey at a University of Iowa lost and found. After being unclaimed for more than 30 days, the Office of Sustainability collects the bottles and sends them to Hillcrest Marketplace for sanitation. After going through rigorous cleaning in the Hillcrest Marketplace’s industrial washer, the bottles are as good as new and ready for a new home.

Eco Hawk interns distribute the bottles at various events around campus. Faculty, staff, and students  are also welcome to stop by the Office, located on the first floor of the Old Capitol Town Center, to adopt a bottle of their own by pledging to be an Eco Hawk. Those already on the Eco Hawk list are welcome to stop by the office anytime and take one.

Started in January 2016 by former recycling coordinator Eric Holthaus and former Eco Hawk intern Tara Slade, this program drew inspiration from similar initiatives at Portland State and other universities to fit the University of Iowa.

Whether they are Camelbak, or Contigo and sport some Hawkeye pride, or not, there is a bottle for everyone. The adopt-a-bottle program is one way Eco Hawks encourage using refillable containers.

Here are a few reasons to ditch your disposable for a reusable one: 

  • Reusable water bottles could save the average American over $100 each year. (CreditDonkey)
  • Most people believe that bottled water is healthier for you than tap water. According to the NRDC, in truth, tap water receives testing by local, state, and federal government agencies while bottled water companies often regulate it themselves.
  • It takes 17 million barrels of oil to create plastic water bottles each year. That could fuel 1.3 million cars for a year. (National Geographic)
  • Plastic water bottles generate more than 121 million tons of waste each year. (NRDC)
  • The price of bottled water is up to 10,000 times the cost of tap water. (Greeniacs)
  • Reusable water bottles are much more convenient with most public facilities containing water fountains for fill up.
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Sustainability at Iowa

1650 University Capitol Centre
200 South Clinton St.
Iowa City, IA 52242
(319) 335-5516