Think Outside the Bottle

Think Outside the Bottle is a national campaign that seeks to educate individuals on the impacts of the bottled water industry. We believe that water is a basic human right that should be available to all people, instead of a commodity bought and sold for profit. At Carleton we aim to educate faculty, staff, and students on the safety of drinking campus tap water and the environmental and health impacts of drinking bottled water. We believe water must be managed democratically and that clean drinking water (necessary for survival) must be accessible to all people, regardless of the income level or position in society. Additionally, we feel strongly that we must avoid the unnecessary environmental degradation inherent in bottling, distribution, and refrigeration of bottled water.

Our task force is working with Amnesty International, MPIRG, and other campus groups to collect pledges from students – individuals are pledging not to buy bottled water and to support elected officials who support the public water system, to stop vending bottled water on campus, and to encourage the Mayor of Northfield to sign onto a letter pledging to support Northfield’s public water.

This spring we have begun collecting signatures to show support for removing bottled water from vending machines on campus. In connection with this effort we have worked to educate students and others on the Carleton Campus. During the second week of the term, our task force put on a Tap Water Challenge asking individuals if they could tell the difference between tap water and bottled water in a blind taste test. The event was covered by Northfield News which has helped to spread awareness about bottled water beyond the Carleton bubble. Read the story here.

The Think Outside the Bottle campaign is active at St. Olaf, Macalester, St. John’s and several other campuses across the state. Additionally, major cities of Minneapolis, San Francisco, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, and Seattle have signed on to the pledge and nationally over 25,000 have signed the pledge to stop buying bottled water.

For more information on the national Think Outside the Bottle Campaign click here. If you have questions about Carleton’s involvement with the Think Outside the Bottle campaign contact Nora Mahlberg. We would love to hear from you!


***Update 4/4/12

While this task force did not achieve its ultimate goal, students have not given up. If you are interested in joining the new campaign to rid Carleton of bottle water, Take Back the Tap, contact Courtney Dufford or Chelsea Wagner. TBTT is not directly associated with SOPE, but SOPE is a big supporter.