Your Local YMCA: Now With More Paper Waste!

At the YMCA: they used to have perfectly serviceable water fountains in the room with the treadmills, elliptical trainers, and weight machines. They ripped them out and replaced them with water coolers that require the use of little conical paper cups - which, of course, must be used once and then thrown away. I and a few others left comments on their comment cards to the effect that this was a fucking stupid move, wasteful in the extreme, bad for the environment, blah blah. Response: we hear your concerns; we are so concerned about sanitation, water coolers are better for everyone, blah blah, use the fucking coolers 'cause we ain't bringing back the fountains.

Today in the Y: a sign says "please bring your own reusable water bottles to save on paper waste." Fucking morons. IF YOU HAD JUST LEFT THE WATER FOUNTAINS IN THE FIRST PLACE, YOU WOULDN'T HAVE THE MOUNTAINS OF PAPER WASTE TO DEAL WITH NOW!

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By DrugMonkey (not verified) on 26 Feb 2009 #permalink

Decades ago I read about a study that concluded that water fountains were safer than using cup and/or coolers because the fountains maintained a considerable distance, for a bacteria, between peoples dirty hands and the water. Coolers much less so.

The only exception was when the fountains were not cleaned regularly and when water pressure was inadequate, which forced people to get much closer to and possibly touch the nozzle.

Also the water going into coolers is not usually chlorinated. Sealed into their five gallon jug the purified water is safe as long as it isn't contaminated after the purification process. Have you looked at the hands of the husky guys people get to drop the jugs in place? When was the last time the cooler was cleaned inside? Because there is not chlorine if critters get a foothold there is nothing to stop them.

Fountains are largely self cleaning with fresh chlorinated water flowing in under pressure and any bacteria flowing down the drain. A quick spritz with a antibacterial cleaner and wipe of the bowl and nozzle every day or two keeps them safe and pleasant to drink from.

That's, well, really kind of special. Maybe they got a grant/ad money for using the water coolers?

The only reasonable use I have ever hard for water coolers was a classmate of mine who was deathly allergic to shellfish (among other things) and used bottled water because the (really nasty) tap water in our area had tested positive for minute traces of shellfish.

And I guess it's marginally better than a new water bottle every time you take a drink.

By JustaTech (not verified) on 26 Feb 2009 #permalink

Here's another reason for resentment: conical cups are designed to be inconvenient. Their purpose is to discourage you from drinking much of the expensive bottled water. A conical cup only holds one third as much water as a cylindrical cup of the same height and diameter, and you can't put it down anywhere until you're done drinking from it.

You can't get a decent amount of water unless you hang around the cooler and refill the cup repeatedly. Or you can bring in a refillable bottle, as they suggest. That advice will cost the Y a lot if everybody takes it.

By David Canzi (not verified) on 26 Feb 2009 #permalink

Yeah, I'm with Art. Water fountains are more sanitary than water coolers, along with being cheaper and less wasteful. This was bad move for the YMCA.

There are various reasons why gym workouts at the YMCA are a turn-off for many of us. The time involved with going to a health club after work, the costs, maybe even an inconvenient location â these are some of the factors cited by people who wish to avoid public facilities.

You may even hate that the only gym available to you is extremely crowded during weekday evenings. In addition to the privacy and convenience, lifting weights at home will allow you to focus on your workouts by eliminating distractions. If these issues relate to your own situation, then perhaps it is time to set up a personal gym to exercise at home.

I competely agree in how useless the new coolers were. However, they did take some action. However, signs aren't really going to affect what people are going to do. I suggest that they just take out the paper cups, if they really want the new and "improved" coolers. That way they can have what they want and keep it sanitary, while you're still not waiting paper and instead bringing your own water bottles.

By Anonymous (not verified) on 02 Mar 2009 #permalink

IN the previous post....replace coolers with water fountains :-)

and for crying out loud if you spit in a water fountain wash your phlegm all the way down the drain!