American University, Office of Sustainability, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW Washington D.C., 20016-8033 • 202-855-3757 (ph) • firstname.lastname@example.org • twitter.com/GreenAU
This case study is available online at www.american.edu/sustainability
From left to right
Spectrum water filter
provides clean, cool water.
Sergeant Gregory Solomon
dispenses water from the
GreenStripe cups from
Eco-Products, made from
In 2009, AU's Office of Public Safety decided to cease
the purchase and delivery of water in plastic containers
and to eliminate petro-based plastic cold cups.
The office eliminated the purchase of 504 five gallon
water carboys by installing a Spectrum inline water
Instead of petroleum-derived plastic cups, Public Safety
now uses plastic cups made from corn starch, certified
by BPI as compostable.
Bottled water is sometimes perceived as better looking,
smelling, and tasting, as well as safer, than tap water.
But the fact is nearly half of bottled water is simply
bottled tap water. A double filtration system addresses
these safety and aesthetic concerns with tap water. The
filtered water system has received positive feedback
from Public Safety employees for its taste and
KEEP GETTING BETTER
Next, the department plans to eliminate Styrofoam hot
beverage cups by distributing reusable, recycled-plastic
mugs to every employee.
Bottled water is often perceived as being safer than tap
water. But according to the Natural Resources Defense
Council (NRDC), "22% of tested bottled water brands
contained chemical contaminants at levels above strict
state health limits." While tap water is required to be
tested for e.coli and other contaminants, bottled water
typically escapes government testing. Tap water also
gets a bad rep for smell and color. As a result of these
safety and a