Perceptions and Consumption of Bottled Water at the University of the Basque Country: Showcasing Tap Water as the Real Alternative towards a Water-Sustainable University
Díez López, José Ramón
Antigüedad Auzmendi, Ignacio
Agirre Basurko, Elena
Rico Martínez, Arantza
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Sustainability 10(10) : (2018) // Article ID 3431
This paper examines the beliefs and environmental attitudes of university individuals towards bottled and tap water use and examines tap and bottled water availability and sales volumes at the University of the Basque Country. The research employed a mixed methods approach including (i) an exploratory survey to document environmental beliefs and behaviors towards bottled and tap water; (ii) written questionnaires addressed to faculty administrators to inquire about accessibility to tap water and, (iii) personal interviews with restaurant managers to inquire about sales volumes of bottled water. Respondents to our survey predominately drink tap water and no health or taste issues associated with its consumption are perceived among respondents reporting to drink two or fewer bottles per week. These results imply that in our context, there are positive perceptions towards tap water and pro-environmental behavior regarding water consumption. However, respondents also claimed to use reused plastic water bottles as the most common tap water container. Moreover, there was widespread presence of bottled water sales at university premises, confirming the ubiquity of this commodity worldwide. Collectively, both survey and sales volume analyses suggest that a greater shift in sustainable behavior is needed in our community. Regarding measures and policies to promote tap water accessibility, considerable differences were found within and between campuses. These findings should help to inform university managers and support sustainability goals where bottled water consumption could be minimized or even eliminated.