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TribBlog: Storming the Tower

A group of environmental advocates is planning a protest on the UT campus tomorrow afternoon to express their displeasure with new tower-shaped plastic bottles.

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Some Longhorns aren’t so pleased with the latest attempt from some alumni to raise money for the University of Texas at Austin while showing school spirit with H2Orange water bottles shaped like the famous UT Tower.

A group of environmental advocates is planning a protest on campus tomorrow afternoon to express their displeasure with new plastic bottles. They say the disposable water bottle undermines Austin’s Zero Waste Goal and UT’s Campus Sustainability Policy.

UT residence halls suggest that students bring their own reusable bottles to campus, and the City of Austin has a goal to cut trash to landfills by 90 percent. The protestors want UT to instead market a refillable water bottle to raise scholarship funds. 

“[The disposable water bottle] is for some scholarship money, which in a sense could be admirable,” said Texas Campaign for the Environment program assistant Stacy Guidry. “But we could market Texas in much more creative ways.”

Tim McClure, GSD&M Idea City co-founder and H2Orange co-creator, said the protesters are targeting the wrong bottlemakers. They should be protesting Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Nestle, whose bottles on campus number in the thousands. At least money from the tower-shaped bottles will help students, he said.

And there are plans in the works to create reusable stainless steel bottles to sell for scholarship funds, McClure said. He didn't seem too perturbed by the protest plans, though, and he asked when it would happen. He said he'd join them if his schedule allowed.

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