Brown, Harvard, the University of Vermont and about 90 other educational institutes are banning sales or restricting use of plastic water bottles due to student activism or administrations’ sustainable policy plans, in moves that may affect the $22 billion U.S. retail packaged-water industry, Bloomberg said.
The University of Vermont is the latest to join the swell, with its announcement in January that it would ban bottle sales from early next year.
Brown University in Providence, R.I., which used to sell about 320,000 bottles of water a year, stopped selling bottled water in its dining halls in 2010. The move came after students organized a campaign to reduce bottled water consumption. The university now holds about 50,000 bottles in reserve for emergencies or for distribution at events, Bloomberg said.
Departments at Harvard have banned the purchase of bottled water for meetings. The University of Pennsylvania encourages administrative offices to use hydration stations rather than bottled water. Cornell and Yale have reduction campaigns, Bloomberg said.
Meanwhile Princeton University has a “Drink Local” initiative to reduce plastic-bottle waste.
The Beverage Marketing Corp. reported sales of more than 9 billion gallons of bottled water in the U.S. last year, and the industry is growing 5.4 percent a year. Sales to colleges and universities aren’t tracked separately. But an analyst from consulting firm Frost & Sullivan told Bloomberg that the initiatives could cause a drop-off in the demographic with the loss of access to students.
In other packaging news, BioMass Packaging has launched a new line of single-serve “grab-and-go” food containers (pictured) to its Greenware line of compostable foodservice products. The container sets are made from NatureWorks Ingeo biopolymer, a PLA-based material, and consist of a cup, an insert with a secure lid, and either a flat or domed snap-on lid. The new cups and inserts are designed to package and present foods that need to be combined just before eating, such as chips and salsa, or salad and dressing, writes Plastics Today.
Chemical and plastics developer Borealis has launched a new random copolymer polypropylene (PP), RJ901MO. The PP’s high melt flow rate (MFR) of 110 allows a 20°C cut in melt temperatures for a 20 percent cycle-time reduction compared to MFR 70 materials, enabling energy reductions and a lower carbon footprint, Borealis said.
For the rigid packaging market, RJ901MO has a good balance of stiffness and impact performance comparable to MFR 70 random copolymers, suitable for the production of complex shapes or long, narrow lengths, the company said. The grade’s better flowability also enables simpler mold design with fewer runners, for a straightforward production process, Borealis said.
Photo: BioMass Packaging