Frequently Asked Questions

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I heard York is phasing out the sale of bottled water on its campuses by 2015. Is this true?
Yes. In April, 2012, President Mamdouh Shoukri and the then President of YFS, Vanesss Hunt, signed a pledge to phase out the sale of bottled water on both campuses and improve free access to clean, safe drinking water. This phase out will come into effect on September 1, 2015, but York community members are encouraged to phase out bottled water before then.

Why is York phasing out the sale of bottled water on its campuses?
The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights states that: "the human right to water is indispensable for leading a life in human dignity. It is a prerequisite for the realization of other human rights." (Source: As a leader in social responsibility and sustainability, York has enhanced free public access to drinking water, and the phase out will also help us reduce the waste associated with thousands of bottled water.

But aren't bottled water recyclable anyway?
While bottled water 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.

Have other universities and institutions phased out the sale of bottled water?
Yes. Several Canadian universities and colleges have banned and/or encourage the elimination of bottled water. More information can be found here:

Where on campus, can I access free, safe drinking water?
There are 70 water refill stations and approximately 200 public water fountains, located across both campuses. Refill stations and water fountains are cleaned daily.

What about access to water for people with disabilities?
All refill stations installed by the University are accessible and adhere to strict standards and codes.

Is our tap water safe to drink?
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.

Where can I get a reusable container?
In addition to the distribution of free reusable bottles from YFS, College Councils and other units on campus, reusable containers are available for purchase from the York University Bookstore and Sport York.

What are the benefits of a reusable container?
A reusable container will help you save money and reduce waste. For instance, if you were to buy two disposable bottles of water each weekday during the academic year, that could cost you $500 or more. One reusable bottle will cost $5 to $10, or you might be able to get one for free.

What happens if there is an emergency and access to tap water is cut off?
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.

By inhibiting the sale of bottled water aren't you unfairly targeting bottled water and restricting individual choice?
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.

Can I bring my own bottled water to campus?
Yes. However, you are encouraged to bring a reusable bottle and take advantage of the many refill stations available on campus.