The debate over bottled water has been going on for a long time. While everyone has their own opinions on it, we should ultimately have options. These options are the reason why, regardless of your beliefs about the bottled water debate, we should allow empty reusable bottles into Michigan Stadium.

From the tailgates, cheering, standing and hot weather (at least at the beginning of the season), everyone needs water at the games. But the only option we currently have is to pay the ridiculous price of $4 per bottle or drink out of one of the 28 water fountains in the stadium. With more than 100,000 fans in attendance at each game, that amounts to about 3,570 people per one water fountain. The stadium also provides little cups with a minimal amount of water in them. However, you need a lot of these cups to really quench your thirst — the obvious issue of waste will be discussed later.

While most people buy bottled water out of convenience or because they have no other choice, some people still believe bottled water is healthier than tap water. Contrary to popular belief, bottled water is not safer than tap water. There are more stringent standards and more safety tests for tap water than bottled water. The chemicals from the plastic bottle can also leach into your water.

The manufacturing of bottled water uses more water and energy than the amount of water that actually goes into the bottle. The Pacific Institute estimates that for every liter of water in a plastic bottle, two liters of water are used to make the plastic and bottle the water. The manufacturing of polyethylene terephthalate bottles, water extraction, bottling and distribution amounts to up to 2,000 times the energy cost of producing tap water.

A large problem with all the bottled water in the stadium is the waste it produces. The initiative to allow reusable water bottles into the stadium can even help the Athletic Department save money on waste pick-up by having less waste produced from plastic water bottles.

Reasons mentioned for banning reusable bottles were to avoid bringing alcohol into the stadium and to expedite fans’ admission through the gate. Thankfully, there is an easy solution to these problems: allow only empty reusable bottles. This way, there is no way of sneaking alcohol in the bottles and security guards can easily and efficiently shake the bottle to make sure it is empty — problem solved. Some people are also worried about throwing reusable bottles at other fans and onto the field, but people can still buy a plastic bottle and throw it, in addition to other items such as food or clothing.

Our stadium is the Big House for a reason. Let’s use the power of all our fans to create a more sustainable stadium. To sign the petition to allow empty reusable water bottles in the Big House, go to:
https://www.msa.umich.edu/upetition/p/takebackthetapbighouse

Alyse Opatowski is an LSA senior and the campus coordinator for Take Back the Tap at University of Michigan.

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