Students will be able to rent reusable water bottles across campus starting Saturday.
Non-disposable plastic bottles pre-filled with water will be sold for about $2 at three locations – Campus Fresh, FoBoGro and Washington Deli & Pizza. Students will be able to exchange empty bottles for filled ones and receive a 50-cent refund for each return, or keep the bottles that are part of what will become one of the first bottle-share programs in the country.
The bottles are manufactured locally and taken to a facility in Gaithersburg, Md. for washing, sanitizing, repackaging and filling, Jim Margolis, CEO and founder of True2o, said.
Margolis said GW is the company’s first college partner.
Students will also be able to drop off bottles at the Marvin Center and West Hall in stations that resemble Capital Bikeshare, the University’s sustainability office facilitator Sophie Waskow said.
“If you’re at FoBoGro, you forgot your bottle and you don’t want to buy a Dasani, you can buy a True2o and not feel like you’re creating more waste,” she said.
Shannon Ross, a coordinator for the Office of Sustainability, declined to provide the cost of the contract with True2o. She said students frequently purchase water bottles “because of the urban nature of our campus.”
“[True2o] provides an innovative solution, giving community members access to a convenient to-go bottle without the waste associated with single-use bottles.”
The pilot is part of plans to expand tap water usage over bottled water, Ross added, citing spigots recently added to the Marvin Center, Ames Hall and the Law School.
Freshman Day of Service participants will receive a True2o sustainable water bottle for free, with a voucher for a free second bottle.
Margolis said the company is also creating a Facebook application so students can monitor the amount of plastic they save using True2o water bottles.
“It’s really in our minds creating a bridge between disposable single serving bottles of water and the sort of self-managed reusable bottle,” Margolis said.
True2o launched a similar program in Provincetown, Mass. this summer, requiring week- or month-long memberships to rent water bottles.