Installing water refilling stations across your sports facilities improves access to tap water, supports the use of reusable drinking bottles, and reduces the purchase and disposal of single-use plastic water bottles. It also saves the valuable raw materials, energy and water that are used to make single use plastic bottles.
There are several types of water refilling stations that your sports departments and institution might pursue. The most basic and familiar style is a simple water fountain retrofitted with a tall spout for filling bottles. Alternatively, many campuses are now choosing a water refilling machine with a built-in filter, set refill rates for different sized bottles, and an electronic display recording the number of single-use plastic bottles avoided each time it is used.
Providing access to refilling stations throughout your facilities supports your sports department and institutional goals to reduce waste and foster a sustainable culture. After all, the best way to cut down your waste stream is to reduce the amount of materials you need to discard.
Cutting down on unnecessary single-use water bottles helps reduce your waste generation. Reusable products not only reduce waste, but can also save money for the students, staff and visitors in your facilities. Reusable water bottles can be sold at concessions stands, providing an opportunity to enhance your green brand and involve sponsors.
Consider the collegiate examples and additional resources listed at the bottom of this page for more details on the implementation strategies and the types of water stations used on campuses around the country.
Student involvement in sports greening efforts can reduce demands on staff time and departmental resources. Student involvement can also help attract support from facilities, athletics, recreation, campus administration, and other departments. The following idea is one example of a task for students to conduct in your sports facilities. This preliminary student project could help facilitate interest in installing water refilling stations and reducing single-use water bottles across all sports facilities and institution-wide. Consider encouraging interested students to do the following:
Water Bottle Refilling Station Facilities Audit:
Complete a walkthrough audit of water bottle refilling stations (including drinking fountains) throughout all sports facilities. Identify and map current stations. Check each to confirm all are working. Flag any faulty refilling stations. Identify floors or entire facilities without stations and suggest locations for new stations. Consider writing up a business plan to encourage installing additional stations.
Visit the relevant page in this guide for more ideas for Student-Led Project Ideas.
*HELPS EARN AASHE STARS POINTS*
Installing water refilling stations and encouraging reusable bottles at your sports facilities can help your institution earn points within the “Waste” subcategory of AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). It can directly contribute to earning up to 5 points for the credit “OP 22: Waste Minimization.” Work with sustainability and facilities staff on your campus to support any institutional efforts to attain or improve your institution’s STARS rating. Use the STARS 2.0 Technical Manual to learn more.
Source reduction of waste is the most effective way to reduce your waste stream. By choosing products made with fewer materials or products that are reusable, your department and institution can help protect habitat, and save energy, water, and resources such as forests, fossil fuels, and metals.
By reducing single-use products made from paper, cardboard, metals, and plastics, you can help reduce the harmful impacts associated with the extraction and processing of these resources, including oil spills, deforestation, biodiversity loss, and water pollution.
University of California Berkeley: Installation of Water Bottle Refill Stations and Fountain Retrofits
Cornell University: Take Back The Tap
Syracuse University: Water Bottle Refilling Stations
University of Michigan: Water Refill Stations
Texas Tech University: Water Stations
Penn State University: Bottle Refilling Stations
Oklahoma State University: Water Bottle Refill Stations
University of California Irvine: Campus Hydration Stations
Villanova University: Implementing Water Refill Stations
Columbia College: Water Fountains On Campus
Wake Forest University: Water Refilling Stations
University of Maryland: Terps The Tap
San Francisco State University: Water Bottle Filling Stations
University of Pennsylvania: Water Bottle Filling Station Map
Portland State University: Campus Hydration Stations
NRDC – Water
AASHE Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS)
AASHE STARS 2.0 Technical Manual
AASHE Forum – Revenue Sharing Water Stations
AASHE Forum – Promoting Water Bottle Refilling Stations
AASHE Presentation – Sustainable Water Consumption