Letter to the Editor: TUC response to The Sundial’s opinion piece

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Letter to the Editor: TUC response to The Sundial’s opinion piece

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As the commercial operator on campus, The University Corporation (CSUN Dining) has a strong commitment to sustainability. Because of that commitment, we have taken many steps to assist in the effort to reduce the sale of single-use bottles.

Most recently, we launched our “Bring Your Own Bottle” (BYOB) campaign. This campaign encourages people to use a refillable bottle and includes a campus map highlighting all the locations where free water is available, including in our own unit’s fountain machines.

In addition to the BYOB campaign, we do the following as an alternative to buying a bottled beverage:

  • All of our eight food service locations and three out of four Matador Mercados have fountain beverages available, including free water.
  • Our four Matador Mercados and Arbor Grill sell refillable bottles.
  • All incoming freshmen who attend New Student Orientation receive a refillable bottle.
  • Customers receive a discount for bringing their reusable containers for those beverages.
  • The fountain beverage cups we offer are Pepsi cups made with at least 50 percent renewable resources, coated with a paraffin wax instead of a petroleum lining and are compostable in a commercial composting facility.  
  • We offer free refills of personal water bottles at every fountain machine and at our three new water filling stations.
  • We have three Aquafina filling stations on campus that Pepsi has provided. We are a test site for these machines, and we hope to add even more.
  • We have six FloWater refillable water machines on campus that offer students a way to refill their bottles if they are not near one of our dining facilities.

Because of these programs and others, our sales of single-use water bottles have decreased on this campus; however, because of our commitment to sustainability, we will continue to provide alternatives to single-use water bottles here at CSUN.

That being said, we understand that a large number of people still want to exercise their desire to purchase a single-use bottle for the convenience they provide.

It is also important to point out that the vast majority of water bottles that are sold on campus are recycled. In partnerships with AS recycling, our waste provider, and a handful of people that come on campus and remove the bottles, we estimate that most of the bottles that are thrown away on campus make it to recycling.

The University Corporation’s (TUC) contract with Pepsi includes their full product line, including water bottles. PepsiCo is working on many alternatives to the plastic bottle.

We currently have three Aquafina refill machines on campus as part of a national PepsiCo test program. The bottled water sold in our units (Aquafina), a Pepsico product, has Aquafina’s newest package, the Eco-Fina Bottle. It is one of the lightest half-liter bottles of any nationally distributed bottled brand in the market today, weighing just 10.9 grams and utilizes 50 percent less plastic than similar Aquafina packaging produced in 2002.

The average Pepsi bottle contains 10 percent recycled plastic that’s more than any other soft drink brand in the United States. PepsiCo designs packages to be 100 percent recyclable.

Recently, PepsiCo acquired SodaStream. This acquisition will build on PepsiCo’s “Beyond the bottle offerings which will eventually offer people even more choices beyond single-use water bottles.

It is clear that PepsiCo is doing their part to reduce the impact of the single-use water bottle while also looking for new and innovative ways to provide clean, filtered water to our customers.

Providing choice to the campus community is the key. For now, people can still choose to purchase a single-use water bottle. However, TUC has and will continue to encourage people to bring or purchase refillable water bottles and utilize the many choices they have to refill them.

Mike Lennon

Associate Director, Campus Dining

The University Corporation