Filling stations are no longer just for gas. In an eco-friendly push, hundreds of U.S. colleges, including those offering a Healtcare Degree, are installing water fountains known as hydration stations so students can refill water bottles rather than buy new ones. Some campuses are even banning the sale of bottled water.
The stations are also popping up in airports, parks, office buildings ? and even on tours with bands, including the Black Eyed Peas? as efforts proliferate to reduce plastic waste by promoting tap water.
Adding to this push is a network of more than 800 restaurants and cafes nationwide that have agreed to give people with reusable bottles free water refills. New York-based TapIt, a non-profit group launched in 2009, has worked with city governments to sign up eateries in 22 states. Next month, Philadelphia is slated to join, TapIt’s William Schwartz says.
Rod Magnuson, of Elkay, which began selling several versions of the water stations last year said it’s the right product at the right time especially.
Elkay reports more than 150 colleges and universities have installed its refilling stations. About the same number have installed Brita ones, which launched in November, spokeswoman Katy Loos says.
What will this mean for bottled water? After a two-year dip, consumption rose 3.5% last year when it averaged 28.3 gallons per American, according to the International Bottled Water Association, an industry group.
It has a following that’s strong, especially as recycling of plastic bottles gets easier, says the group’s Tom Lauria. He doesn’t expect hydration stations to hurt sales, adding that there’s probably enough room for both because there are still colleges that offer online mat courses.


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