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Bottled Versus Tap Water

Water Refill StationWhen you fill up a BPA-free, reusable water bottle at the tap, or one of UConn's drinking fountains or hydration stations on campus, instead of buying bottled water, you're not only saving money but also reducing your ecological footprint and helping UConn become a more sustainable campus.

UConn's hydration or refill stations can be found across campus with more locations on the way. Currently, students, staff, and faculty can conveniently refill their bottles in the Student Union, McMahon Residence Hall, Buckley Residence Hall, Castleman, Ellsworth Residence Hall, Nathan Hale Inn, Hilltop Community Center, McMahon Residence Hall, Fieldhouse, Shippee Residence Hall, Budds, Towers (Fenwick),and the Young Building. Additionally, more stations are on order for Northwest (Batterson), Whitney, and North.

Why Tap Water

  • Tap water is safer than bottled water.
  • Tap water saves energy and reduces our dependence on oil, which reduces your carbon footprint. You'll save ΒΌ a bottle of oil every time you refill.
  • Tap water reduces waste. UConn recycles, but even better to reduce your drinking water waste altogether with this reusable bottle.
  • Tap water is cleaner, more efficient, more convenient, and free of charge at a location near you!

The Facts

The federal EPA and state Department of Public Health enforce strict water quality standards for public drinking water supply systems. UConn's water system is required to routinely sample tap water and comply with these standards for more than 15 possible contaminants and the results must be annually reported to consumers. These same laws and standards do not apply to bottled water, which is regulated instead by the Food and Drug Administration, and only if it is sold in interstate commerce. FDA drinking water standards are not as stringent, nor as well enforced, and some bottled water is exempt. (Bottled & Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession With Bottled Water by Peter Gleick)

Plastic bottles are made from PET, which is made from petroleum. Energy is required to manufacture the bottles and run the bottling and refrigeration machines. It also requires fuel, typically petro-diesel, to transport the bottles to the place where you buy them. These combined energy costs are the oil equivalent of about one quarter the volume of each bottle and 1000 times greater than the energy costs to pump, treat and deliver tap water. (Gleick)

The production process for a bottle of water wastes the equivalent of about 3 or 4 bottles of water. Also, many plastic bottles are not properly sorted for recycling and end up as litter or non-biodegradable trash, bound for a landfill or waste incinerator. (Gleick)

Think Outside the Bottle

Think Outside the Bottle is a new UConn initiative that distributes reusable water bottles to incoming first year students and staff with the intent of decreasing bottled water consumption on campus. By doing this and continuing to install water bottle refill stations around campus, the university hopes to create a more sustainable campus and decrease its reliance on bottled water. Sponsors of this initiative include the President's Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility, Dining Services, the UConn Chapter of the American Association of University Professors, and the University of Connecticut Professional Employees Association.