The University of Connecticut may have boxed water in a paper-based vessel rather than plastic in the future thanks to a survey being done by students from Professor Hualu Zheng’s marketing resource class.
The survey has different types of questions, including where students buy water, how much their water is and if they are willing to recycle. These questions will help see how likely students will purchase boxed water, Susan Twiss, a seventh-semester marketing major, said.
“The focus of this project is to assess the feasibility of introducing a sustainably sourced, 100 percent recyclable ‘boxed water’ alternative to the sale of single-use plastic water bottles on campus, not to set up more water fountain [or] recycling locations,” Twiss said.
According to the “Boxed Water” website, around three-quarters of the boxes are made from paper, which has a lower carbon footprint than traditional plastic bottles. The other fourth is made of plastic and aluminum.
Twiss said that she thinks boxed water could be accepted at UConn.
“UConn has already begun a series of eco-friendly changes including refillable water stations, green buildings and switching to paper bags throughout dining services,” Twiss said. “I think it’s important to continually explore new ways to reduce our carbon footprint. Status quo just isn’t going to cut it anymore.”
UConn students seem eager to have boxed water, but the survey results will provide proof, Twiss said. The survey is aiming for 100 respondents to be representative of the student population.
“Our preliminary exploratory research, through a number of in-depth interviews, suggests there was a willingness to switch to boxed water given the price was reasonable,” Twiss said. “Of course, we will measure customer preference and determine UConn students’ attitudes after reviewing the sample data.”
Shivani Doshi, a fourth-semester biology major, said she is open to the idea of boxed water at UConn but is skeptical about whether or not the containers are more eco-friendly.
“I feel like although it's much better than plastic water bottles no point unless people actually recycle it,” Doshi said. “And maybe we should start selling cheap reusable water bottles [because] those are so much better for the environment.”
Rachel Philipson is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at email@example.com.