Friday April 18, 2014

Push for bottle ban at TRU fizzles out

'We don’t have the technology in B.C. to turn it back into a plastic bottle'

TRU will not adopt a ban on plastic bottles on campus as proposed by its student union.

A report went to the university’s board of governors Friday recommending against a ban, saying it would be costly to the university in lost revenue and doesn’t offer clear environmental benefits.

Jim Gudjonson, the university’s director of environment and sustainability, said the report found plastic as a beverage container is no more or less harmful than other materials, including aluminum and glass.

That takes into account carbon footprint from manufacturing and transport as well as material that ends up in the environment.

But Gudjonson acknowleged “plastic fails” when measured in its lower recovery rates and the fact it is more often reduced into lower-end products rather than returned into more plastic bottles.

“There are things we can phase-in on the horizon, while we phase out plastic,” he added.

Leif Douglass, the student union’s vice-president external, said it is disappointed the university won’t ban plastic bottles, arguing they are recycled into pellets, sold to Asia, turned into packaging and end up in the environment.

“We don’t have the technology in B.C. to turn it back into a plastic bottle.”

While there will not be a ban, Gudjonson said a committee will work with supplier Coca-Cola to increase recovery rates. The university also plans to install more water filling stations and to better educate the student population about the city’s high standards for drinking water.

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