'Take Back the Tap' Strives for a Bottle-Free Campus

TBTT Holding T-shirts

It's hard to picture what an island of floating trash in the middle of the Pacific Ocean looks like but the depressing effect of this image can be used as a catalyst for change. According to National Geographic, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a collection of marine debris that is composed almost entirely of plastics. These plastics never biodegrade – rather, they just break down into smaller pieces making them hazardous to many species of marine animals. These plastics are causing ecosystem instability and they leak harmful pollutants into the water. So what can be done about this alarming problem that is growing to an unmanageable size in the middle of the ocean?

The answer is simple – reduce the sale and distribution of plastics, especially plastic water bottles. "Take Back the Tap", a student-run advocacy organization is aiming to do just this.

Take Back the Tap hosted the third annual "World Water Field Day" on Landis Green this Wednesday to commemorate the United Nation's international World Water Day, which occurred on Sunday.One of many programs through Sustainable Campus, Take Back the Tap is an organization that is promotes the ban of the sale of water bottles on campus here at Florida State. Take Back the Tap encourages the use of hydration stations on campus and making an investment in a durable, BPA-free, reusable water bottle.

"The intent for World Water Field Day is to raise awareness about issues with water," Marie-Claire Levy, coordinator for World Water Field Day said. Levy recognizes the draw towards plastic water bottles. "It's convenient and people grab them as they walk out the door but we are college students and just buying a reusable water bottle can save a lot of money," she said.

During'World Water Field Day', students formed teams and participated in fun events to bring awareness to both water-conserving and plastic-reducing practices. On Landis, students took part in a scavenger hunt that took them around campus, locating hydration stations and reusable water bottles. Another activity simulated the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

However, it wasn't just about reducing plastic consumption. Students attempted the transport of 40-lb water-filled jerry cans that women in developing countries carry on their backs for hours each day to provide clean drinking water for their families. While it was fun and games out on Landis on Wednesday, the idea was to raise awareness about water issues and inform students on small changes they can make that will make a difference.

Levy's best piece of advice for students is simple – invest in a reusable water bottle to save money and reduce plastic bottle usage. While it may not shrink the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, actions such as these can prevent it from growing even further.