Students Take Back the Tap

New refilling stations help students ditch bottled water.

160 bottles of water. That's the number most Americans use each year. More than 80 percent of those bottles end up in landfills, incinerators, or the ocean.


In Portland, the two dollars spent on bottled water can buy more than 700 gallons of city tap water, some of the world's best.

So why not fill up?

With a grant from the Miller Foundation through the Institute for Sustainable Solutions, Take Back the Tap started a campaign to install filtered water bottle refilling stations across campus, and sell refillable steel bottles at a discount.

Already, 11 water bottle filling stations have been installed (pdf), with at least 10 more on the way. At just one station, filling up saved 38,000 plastic bottles per year.

President Wim Wiewel just launched a Sustainable Drinking Water Task Force, and PSU's student government has limited the use of student fees to purchase bottled water.

"When people realize drinking tap water is cheaper, healthier, and more sustainable, they stop buying bottled water anyway," said Jacob Sherman, a Take Back the Tap student leader.

Learn more about sustainable drinking water at Portland State.