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Plastic Bottled Water Phased Out

UPDATED: April 2023

In September 2015, York University phased out the sale of single use plastic water bottles from its campuses.  This action was in response to the student led "Take Back the Tap" campaign, in which many schools across North America advocated for a more socially conscious approach to drinking water.

The bottled water phase out was integral to York University's overarching commitment as a leading post-secondary institution for sustainability, environmental conscientiousness and social responsibility towards creating positive change for our community and the world around us. York has been recognized for its commitment to sustainability, having been named one of Canada's Greenest Employers for the past 11 consecutive years and winner of other sustainability awards, including the 2013 Minister's Award for Environmental Excellence from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.

Since eliminating the sale of single use plastic water bottles, York has installed 70 water refill stations across both the Keele and Glendon campuses and retrofitted over 200 existing public water fountains. Find a location nearest you on our campus map.

You can learn more about York's commitment to sustainability by reading the University's Sustainability Strategy. For more information on the phase-out of bottled water on campus, visit the Secretariat Policies website.

Buy your York University reusable bottles at the York Bookstore


While plastic water bottles are recyclable, they still require a significant amount of energy to manufacture, transport and eventually recycle. The use of durable water bottles is preferable in energy usage to recycling.

Additionally, many bottles that should be recycled instead end up in the landfills, or worse, as litter that pollutes natural areas and watersheds

There are 70 water refill stations and approximately 200 public water fountains, located across both campuses. Refill stations and water fountains are cleaned daily.

All refill stations installed by the University are accessible and adhere to strict standards and codes.

Yes. Canadian municipalities are required to test drinking water multiple times a day. In fact, the quality control of municipal drinking water is much more rigorous than the testing for bottled water.

In the unlikely event of an emergency and the tap water is cut off, announcements will be made across campus through all available communications channels and a supply of water will be made available on campus.

Other beverages sold in bottles have similar environmental impacts as bottled water. However, those other beverages are not available from a tap or for free. By promoting tap water, we all help to expose the environmental, health, and socioeconomic impacts of bottled water. The choice in supporting public water and consuming tap water becomes clear.

Yes. However, you are encouraged to bring a reusable bottle and take advantage of the many refill stations available on campus.