1.1 What: Providing water bottles for all IES students
1.2 Why this action makes things more sustainable
Supplying water bottles to all IES students, greatly improves the sustainability of IES, by significantly lowering our communities plastic bottle use. Over 30 billion plastic water bottles are thrown away every year. As we know, plastic can take up to one thousand years to disintegrate, a is a large provider of toxic waste in the world’s oceans. When you walk around IES, you see plastic water bottles everywhere. Most students don’t think to bring a water bottle when traveling, so most are without one when they arrive. After this semester of supplying water bottles to all IES students, the handout of water bottles will take place on the day we arrive. From that day forward, IES students can refill and use their water bottle, and keep money in their pockets’ and plastic out of landfills. One twenty ounce plastic bottle of water takes sixty ounces of water to produce. Water is an already precious resource in this world, we cannot afford to waste in on production of a harmful product to our body’s and environment. When all IES students have a water bottle from the start of the semester, the number of plastic bottles we as a student body use, will be significantly reduced. Doing so changes the attitude of IES students to one of reducing dependency on plastic bottles; decreases both our Ecological and Water footprints as the production of plastic bottles requires lots of water usage; diminishes the long term contribution of plastic to the world’s waste; promotes a reinforcing feedback loop; support the SLEN business that we are purchasing the bottles from; and supports the cradle-to-cradle design of eliminating waste from our community.
1.2.1 SWOT Analysis
• Greatly reduces the amount of plastic bottles used at IES Barcelona
• Saves students lots of money by refilling water bottle and not always needing to purchase one
• Reduces the amount of plastic waste contributed to the city’s recycling/trash system
• Is better for students health as plastic has high levels of BPA which has been found with high connection in the blood of cancer patients
• Caterina at the front desks says she already picks up many left behind aluminum water bottles and this will greatly increase with all students having one
• 400 water bottles amongst 400 students is a lot to keep track of
• Administration want to charge 2 Euro a bottle to help cover some of the initial cost
• We have the opportunity to reduce our contribution to the massive use of plastic bottles
• We have the opportunity to be more healthy as a community by not consuming water containing BPA
• We can help diminish the shocking 66 million plastic water bottles that are thrown into the garbage every day
• Despite being a small community we can only do what we can, and by eliminating plastic bottles from our daily lives, our small community has the major impact of doing all we can in one area of sustainability
• With so many water bottles that look the same, it may become hard to keep track of everyones
• Caterina who has to pick up those water bottles currently left behind, worries that with this action there will be a major swell in lost-and-found water bottles
• To address these potential threats, we must provide tape and markers so each student can properly identify their bottle with their name
1.2.2 Feedback Loops
Reinforcing Loop: +Supplying all students with water bottles→+ Decrease in dependency on plastic bottles→+ Decrease in plastic waste produced at IES Barcelona→+ Students having water bottles from that day forward and not needing to purchase plastic bottles that need to be eventually disposed→+ No need to waste money on purchasing water
1.2.3 Potential Benefits
The obvious potential benefits include the major reduction in our contribution to plastic waste and the saving of money for all students not needing to purchase water everyday. There is the possibility of shrinking our ecological footprint. To package eight billion gallons of water, 900,000 tons of plastic is required. We as a community need to do our part to eliminate the need for plastic production. A city with clean drinking water, like Barcelona, does not need to be wasting energy, money, carbon dioxide, and contributing toxins to the atmosphere and waters by producing water bottles. The plastic water bottle manufacturers with all their products generate greater than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide each year. They also require seventeen million barrels of oil each year. We can do our part to remove our dependency from such production.
1.2.4 Potential Cost
Of course the initial purchase of the water bottles is a somewhat significant cost, but it is one that IES Barcelona Administration has agreed to cover and include in their budget. The company we are purchasing them from offers each bottle at a base price per unit of 2.73 Euros for 500 bottles, and 2.57 Euros for 1000 bottles. In addition, there is a flat fee for inserting the IES logo on each bottle which administration wants. For a colored logo, an additional fee of 144Euros is added, for a colorless logo an addition 48Euros is added to the cost. All in all it costs IES Administration 1,413 or 1,509 Euros for 500 water bottles; and 2,618 or 2,714 Euros for 1000 bottles. To deal address the cost issue, administration has asked that at least for this semester we sell the water bottles at 2 Euros a piece. I disagree with doing so, however if they require the selling of the bottles, it would still be worth it for all students to do so as they save the money they’d otherwise spend on plastic bottles. 2 Euros isn’t bad when considering the possibility of a lifetime supply of water.
The implementation of this action was quite straight-forward and easy. After hearing much interest from the class and student body at IES to have water bottles supplied to all students, I proposed the idea to the Sustainability Club. The was great support all around for making this one of our semester goals and projects. In a meeting I had with administration, I received approval to go ahead with the water bottle project. Before making the purchase however, administration needed to see the initial costs. I got the information of the SLEN company IES uses to supply mass orders with the IES logo. I passed the information along to Mary Bowerman, who helped research the prices and come up with what was needed for administrative final approval. With Mary’s work I know have the numbers to present to Betsy in a meeting early next week; which will be the last step before placing the order and having all bottles arrive here in time for this semester’s students to receive. Xavi, there is a lot of email correspondence gathering all of the necessary information to complete the action that I can include if you would like.
1.3.1 “ Cradle-to-Cradle” design
The only waste produced in this action is in the production of the water bottles. However, this waste will never turn into waste as it can be reused over and over again, and instead it will eliminate the need for many plastic bottles that would end up as waste. I hope the water bottles are made of recycled goods, which would truly exemplify the cradle-to-cradle design of using waste for food. Even if they are not produced as such, we will still be eliminating much waste that would not be usable as food, and instead using a product that can last us all forever. Therefore, this action is beautiful in terms of cradle-to-cradle design as it produces no waste and instead eliminates much that would be actual waste and not food.
1.3.2 Questions from the unified survey
Do you currently own a refillable water bottle or do you buy water from a supermarket?
Do you feel guilty throwing out plastic water bottles?
Would you prefer a water bottle over a reusable bag?
1.3.3 Analysis of the results in the survey
The survey results were overwhelmingly in favor of providing the reusable water bottles. The responses to the questions say it all, no analysis is needed, all results point to the benefit of giving students bottles. 85% of respondents said they would prefer a water bottle to a disposable bag. 16 of 19 students feel guilty throwing out their plastic bottles. And 9 of 18 buy their water bottles from the market, with the other half already using one. Those who already use one would not need to purchase a bottle at the start of the semester, and IES can save the leftovers for future students. Meanwhile, the population who purchase water bottles from stores will save a lot of money by paying the initial 2 Euros for their reusable bottle and eliminating water from their purchases.
The amount of money that there is to be saved for each student is incentive enough. Beyond knowing that you are contributing to the sustainability of one’s lifestyle, students who purchase the bottles can feel good about not having to spend any more money on water. For two euros, each student can have an endless supply of water. The tap water is good and clean in Barcelona. There is no need to waste money on purchasing plastic bottles that fill our blood with BPA. Instead, an small 2 Euro price can be paid, and that same water bottle can be used and reused forever. For those students who already have a water bottle, they may want one more for when their other is being cleaned, or they don’t need to make the purchase. They are all set, and the water bottle that they would have gotten isn’t thrown away or wasted, instead just saved for the next student.
1.3.5 Relationship with the “Sustainability Club”
As President of the Sustainability Club, this action has been a club-sponsored action, and received support from both the club and members of the sustainability class. The SC was completely behind the implementation of the action, and the title of the SC was used to legitimize the project in order to receive budgetary funding from IES administration.
1.3.6 How will this action be sustained when I am not here?
By making this action happen once, all the necessary information to do it again will be left with IES administration, and to the SC webpage for all future Sustainability Club and Course members. The company’s contact information, different prices, payment procedures, shipping logistics, all the necessary info will be available to easily complete this action for all future IES Barcelona semesters. After this semester, it will mostly be the responsibility of IES Barcelona Administration, to do the necessary actions to have the water bottles available for distribution on arrival day of the semester. I will work everything out with administration so that they are easily able to do so, and maintain this action from one semester to the next. I of course will also be available to assist in any way needed if an issue arises and help is needed.
1.3.7 Document Format
The only documents used in this action were email exchanges working out all of the logistics, and then eventually the necessary documents to complete payment. This entire process will be posted on wiki as an OpenOffice editable document allowing any improvements to be made by future Sustainability Club and/or course members.
1.3.8 Copyright License of my report
CC: I chose a Creative Commons License because it is the most accommodating license offered, and therefore allows for the most improvement to be made by others. Such circumstances gives my action the most potential to grow.
February 9th, 2011: Many students convey interest in having water bottles supplied by IES at the start of the semester in a sustainability class discussion.
February 10th, 2011: The Sustainability Club confirms interest in perusing water bottles for all students as a goal for the semester.
February 16th, 2011: I have a meeting with IES administration, whom supports the water bottles project as long as certain requirements are met.
February 24th, 2011: Gives me the contact information for the SLEN company IES places bulk order with, I get in touch with the company and let them know what we would like, forwarding the information of the company to Mary Bowerman on March 20th.
March 24th, 2011: Mary Bowerman had done a lot of work, and passes the information she finds (which is everything administration needed) on to me
March 31st, 2011: I spoke with Betsy from Administration giving her the needed info and she confirmed that she would place the order
April 4th-8th, 2011: I will meet with Betsy during the week to place the actual order, and set up everything with her so that from here on out, her administration can provide the water bottles to each and every IES Barcelona student who wants one when they arrive
All future semesters at IES Barcelona will have a complete student population possessing reusable water bottles.
1.5 References and Links
http://www.makito.es/ → SLEN Company for water bottles
http://www.wateruseitwisely.com/ → For water conservation posters in student housing
McDonough, William & Braungart Michael (1998). The NEXT Industrial Revolution. The Atlantic 282(4): 82-92. Available online at: http://www.ratical.org/co-globalize/nextIndusRev.pdf → Cradle to Cradle design that is the basis of all our work
1.6 Students involved in this action
Mary Bowerman has been a huge help in ensuring water bottles for all IES students not only this semester but in the future as well. Her help with the local business providing the water bottles has been great in getting the ball rolling and the order placed. She was responsible for getting all the necessary information administration needed to place the order for the bottles. Without her help, it is possible the action would not have succeeded.
Assignment 4: Peer review form
Grades for this action report (From the PROFESSOR)