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Kicking the bottled-water habit

The gooseneck faucet is the latest symbol for the environment at the University of Vermont, which, rather than simply getting rid of bottled water, is also trying to promote practical alternatives.

On Jan. 1, Vermont will become the nation’s biggest public university to ban sales of bottled water, according to the advocacy group Food and Water Watch. After years of student activism, a 10-year contract with Coca-Cola, maker of Dasani bottled water, was allowed to expire. That was no small issue; under the old contract, Coke reportedly paid the university nearly a half-million dollars for “pouring rights” — money that went into student aid and academic and sports programs. But students made the case to give up that money by citing the environmental waste of plastic bottles and the cost of paying for what, in most cases, is regional tap water anyway.

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