All around the country, students, businesses and local governments are joining the movement to Take Back the Tap by choosing tap water over bottled water. The industry requires energy to produce and transport the product, creates plastic that ends up in landfills and oceans, and can damage local watersheds where some bottled water is sourced.
Students on many college campuses have realized the benefits of switching to tap water and are working to spread the word to their classmates about why bottled water is a bad choice and to remove bottled water from their schools. Cities are limiting bottled water purchases or banning using tax dollars to buy bottled water. The City Council of New York City decided to stop buying bottled water for its offices in 2008, following in the footsteps of the mayor of San Francisco, who prohibited using city money to buy bottled water a year before. Restaurants around the country are signing pledges not to sell bottled water. And it is making a difference: U.S. bottled water consumption declined in both 2008 and 2009, for the first time in many years. Now many people are looking for alternatives to bottled water.
When drinking water out of plastic singleserve bottles became a trend, many sources of public drinking water were neglected. Now, as more and more people are looking for easy ways to refill their reusable water bottles, forward-thinking institutions, from schools to offices to libraries, are anticipating the demand for better access to tap water and coming up with ways to provide it to thirsty people on the go. This guide is for organizations, businesses and institutions that want to provide their visitors, employees and customers with safe, affordable, environmentally friendly water. It describes two easy ways to increase access to tap water — installing water filling stations and retrofitting drinking water fountains. It then details the experiences of institutions that have used such programs and offers tips for how to follow successfully in their footsteps.