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Abstract

My research examined how water bottle filling stations contribute to improving sustainability and reducing plastic waste at The University of Chicago (UChicago). A station inventory was created using information provided by Facilities Services and by visiting all campus buildings. To understand station usage, station meter (green ticker) data was recorded over a two-week period, a questionnaire was distributed to students, and station observations were conducted. It was found that filling stations are widely used and positively viewed by students. Cost-benefit analysis indicated that there is a large net benefit for installing additional filling stations at UChicago. Recommendations for further decreasing UChicago’s reliance on plastic water bottles and waste generation at minimal costs include improving filling station records, installing additional stations on campus, and reducing plastic water bottle sales and distribution. This research will assist UChicago in reducing its carbon footprint and serving as a model for other institutions to follow.

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