Favorite

UA wants bottled water off campus 

Bottled-water exec readies for another bout.

1009reporter_image1.gif

Breck Speed is displeased that the Sustainability Council at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville is trying to make his business unsustainable.

Speed is the CEO of Mountain Valley Spring, the well-known bottled-water company based in Hot Springs. The UA's new Sustainability Council recently announced that its first project will be “an education program aimed at reducing, and ultimately eliminating, the use of bottled water on campus.”

“There are lots of useful things they could do to promote sustainability,” Speed said. “Instead, they're going after an Arkansas industry. There's no milk bottled here, it's all shipped out of state. There's no soda pop bottled here. We [water bottlers] are the only Arkansas-based beverage industry. And we employ a lot of people.” Four companies bottle water in Arkansas, including Mountain Valley. The Coca-Cola bottling plant at Little Rock actually bottles only Dasani water (which begins as Little Rock tap water).

After Speed complained about the Sustainability Council's announcement, the Council issued a more tactfully worded “correction” that said in part “The project to limit bottled water use on campus is completely voluntary, and will not result in removing bottled water from the shelves of campus vendors.” It didn't satisfy Speed.

(While some people are all wrapped up in “sustainability” these days, others don't even understand what sustainability is. It has to do with conservation and protecting the environment. Wikapedia says, “As applied to the human community, sustainability has been expressed as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”)

The Sustainability Council includes faculty, administrators and students in its membership. It was created last spring by then-Chancellor John White.  The Council said in a news release that the goal of its first project “is to teach the campus community that bottled water is unnecessary, expensive and harmful to the environment. The project intends to show that drinking municipal tap water or filtered tap water, and using refillable containers, is an inexpensive and sustainable alternative. The organizers intend to recruit college deans, campus organizations and student groups to help promote the voluntary project. A kick-off event is being planned for November.”

Speed, who holds a law degree from UA, is further annoyed that the Council won't meet with him to hear his side of the bottled-water story. Nick Brown, UA executive assistant for sustainability, said that the Council's meetings, comparatively brief and infrequent and highly structured, were not an appropriate place for the exchange of views that Speed proposed. He said the Council had invited Speech to participate in point-counterpoint discussions in the student newspaper and other fora. Speed found the offer unsatisfactory.

Speed says the Council adopted unquestioningly the data it found on an anti-bottled-water website. “They didn't do a whole lot of work,” he said. “It's a very unacademic exercise.”

The Council says that tap water is as safe or safer than bottled water. In some parts of the country, that simply is not true, Speed said. He mentioned a recent controversy over perchlorate, a toxic chemical, being found in some public water supplies. Mountain Valley and other bottled waters banned perchlorate years ago, he said.

Speed says he's not through with the Sustainability Council. “They're raising money to run ads,” he said. “If they're going to enter a marketing campaign against bottled water, we'll have to respond. I'll run ads. I'll talk to the UA's head honchos. I'll do whatever it takes.”

Speed has already crossed swords with Fayetteville Mayor Dan Coody, another bottled-water foe. Speed said in an Arkansas Times article Aug. 14 that bottled water is under attack nationally from three groups — public-water officials, environmentalists, and companies that sell home water-filtration systems.

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Doug Smith

  • The L word and the C word

    I was excited to see the newspaper headline "Bielema liberal." "After all those neo-Nazis, we've finally got a coach who thinks right," I told friends. "I wonder if he belongs to the ADA."
    • May 1, 2014
  • Who's exasperated?

    Jim Newell was gripped by exasperation himself after reading this item in the business section. "Exacerbated" is the word the writer wanted, he sagely suggests.
    • Apr 24, 2014
  • We will run no race before it's ripe

    "What year would Oaklawn recognize as its 100th anniversary? After all, Oaklawn's advertising material is ripe with 'Since 1904,' but it's widely reported the first race wasn't run until 1905."
    • Apr 17, 2014
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Kanis development decried

    Fletcher Hollow wrong place for density, neighbors tell LR planners.
    • Oct 8, 2015
  • Eligible voters removed from rolls

    Arkansas Times reporters contacted election officials around the state to see how they had handled flawed felon data from the secretary of state. Responses varied dramatically.
    • Aug 11, 2016
  • Real Republicans don't do pre-K

    Also, drifting away from trump, Hudson's downfall at ASU and more.
    • Aug 11, 2016

Most Shared

  • World leaders set to meet in Little Rock on resource access and sustainable development

    Little Rock will next week host a series of meetings on the use of technology to tackle global problems led by Club de Madrid — a coalition of more than 100 former democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world — and the P80 Group, a coalition of large public pension and sovereign wealth funds founded by Prince Charles to combat climate change.
  • Rapert compares Bill Clinton to Orval Faubus

    Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway)  was on "Capitol View" on KARK, Channel 4, this morning, and among other things that will likely inspire you to yell at your computer screen, he said he expects someone in the legislature to file a bill to do ... something about changing the name of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.

Latest in Arkansas Reporter

Visit Arkansas

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans

Event Calendar

« »

December

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Most Viewed

  • 2017 legislature spreads its wings

    Also, Asa on Trump, schmoozing schedule and more.
  • Dems path forward

    The Arkansas Dems can lead by doing the opposite of what the national Dems did when they reelected the same leadership in charge since the equally embarrassing losses as seen in Arkansas. Electing 75-plus-year-olds is no way to embrace the youth.
  • Arkansas archeologist does his job, is asked to leave

    Amid Department of Arkansas Heritage project.
  • The sweet hereafter

    This week, the Arkansas Times falls back on that oldest of old chestnuts: a recipe issue. Being who we are, of course, we had to put a twist on that; namely, the fact that most of the recipes you'll find in these pages are courtesy of people who have shuffled off to that great kitchen in the sky, where the Good Lord is always whipping up new things in his toque and apron, running the great mixers of genetics and time, maybe presenting the batter-dipped beaters and bowls to Jesus for a lick down.
  • Legislative perks

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation