Last year, UTSU designated Clubs Day and Orientation as bottled water-free. While UTSU successfully adhered to its own policy, many other colleges and campus groups failed to live up to it.

Having the entire Orientation bottled water-free can seem a little daunting – after all, it’s still really hot at the beginning of September, and Orientation events often move around campus to areas where fountains might not be available. But it really shouldn’t be that hard to do.

The main solution is for colleges to invest in large water coolers, and have those on hand at events instead of bringing cases of bottled water. Plus, at large events like UTSU Clubs Day, the Toronto water truck is usually there. It’s up to us as students to remember to bring our refillable bottles.  Disposable cups can be a last resort. (All new students typically get a refillable bottle in their Orientation kit.)

Many people just assume that going bottled water-free would be logistically impossible.  But, if we can carry around cases of bottled water, we can carry around water coolers. Besides, it’s only been about the past 10 or 15 years that bottled water has been really popular – what did we do before then?

To make going bottled water free even easier, PWI is developing a campus map of where we can refill our reusable bottles.  Stay tuned to find out where you can pick up the map once it’s finished!

Plus, before you pick up a bottle of water, keep these few things in mind:

  • PET plastic in water bottles is made from chemicals derived from crude oil. These chemicals can seep into the water, especially when bottled water is sitting around in the sun and heat.
  • Because bottled water is untreated, it can contain high levels of bacteria, which can multiply even after bottling. Again, this is accelerated by the sun and heat.
  • About 50% of water bottles in Canada are not recycled. This plastic takes thousands of years to decompose.
  • Bottled water produces 150x the greenhouse gases of tap water.