Drinking Water Best Practices

Be Orange, Go Green: Cut Campus Plastic Use with a Refillable Bottle!

Water is the healthiest drink on the planet — and it is the only one that’s free!

By carrying a refillable bottle — and using the nearly 700 hydration stations conveniently located across our campus — you can stay healthy while saving yourself money and time.

Other factors to consider:

  • By choosing to drink sustainable, local water in your own refillable container, you reduce your carbon footprint and environmental impact associated with single-use plastics.
  • Dispensed water is proven safer than bottled because it is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. And local water plants are highly regulated and must test their supply multiple times per day.
  • The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign water supply is tested regularly, and it reports on its water quality annually. View the latest water quality report >>>
  • Most people can’t tell the difference between fresh water and bottled — and water from the Mahomet Aquifer, our local supply, regularly wins out in blind taste tests!

So … please show what it means to be a Sustainable Illini. Carry that refillable bottle proudly — and hit us up for a “Be Orange, Go Green” sticker to show your pride!

DID YOU KNOW? All Illini athletic events allow fans to enter with an empty, clear refillable bottle! The Division of Intercollegiate Athletics is having more hydration stations added to its facilities.


Campus Hydration Station Map

Click the image to open a PDF.

Better Practices Can Help us Save Money, Energy, the Environment, and — Oh Yeah — Water!

Some reasons to avoid purchasing single-use plastic water bottles:

  1. Bottled water costs 10,000 more times than tap water!
  2. Bottled water is NOT safer than tap water …
    • 40% of bottled water is taken from tap water.
    • 20% of bottled water brands contain chemical contaminants at levels above strict state health limits.
  3. Bottling water wastes water, energy, and resources …
    • It takes 3 liters of natural water to make 1 liter of bottled water.
    • 17 million barrels of oil are used to produce water bottles annually — enough to fuel 1 million cars for a year!
    • The transportation, and cooling, of bottled water adds to greenhouse gas emissions.
  4. Bottled water is an environmental justice and equity concern: It is commonly sourced from areas that are facing water shortages, leaving those areas without easy access to their own water supply. Additionally, plastic waste disproportionately pollutes communities in poorer countries.
  5. More than 500 million water bottles are consumed (and disposed of) each week in the U.S. — enough to circle the globe five times!
    • Bottles that end up in landfills contaminate our groundwater.
    • Many millions of pounds of unrecycled bottles end up polluting the oceans at an alarming rate!

Ongoing Efforts: Don’t Waste;

Fighting Illini Fighting Waste!

The Division of Intercollegiate Athletics, Facilities & Services, Housing and Dining, the Illini Union, iSEE, and others are partnering with Coca-Cola on a campaign to keep plastic and metal drink containers from the waste stream on our campus!

Among the many things Coca-Cola is provided are new portable receptacles for recyclables and landfill. They will be used at all major events on campus.


Fighting Illini, Fighting Waste volunteers helped fans recycle at the March 3 Illini women’s game against Nebraska and the March 5 men’s game against Purdue. The results …

  • Total recyclables collected March 3: 460 pounds (100 collected by volunteers and pre-sorted; 360 from the DIA’s waste stream and sorted at the Waste Transfer Station). Total waste and diversion rate unavailable as some waste was from prior events.
  • Total recyclables collected March 5: 1,040 pounds (960 collected by volunteers; 80 at WTS). Total waste: 10,300 pounds. Diversion rate: 10%


Past events


A first-of-its-kind Tailgate Recycling event for the Urbana campus kicked off Saturday, Sept. 23, ahead of the Illini football game against Florida Atlantic at Memorial Stadium! The second event was Nov. 11 ahead of the game against Indiana. Orange and blue recycling boxes were available in Grange Grove and tailgating Lot 31 to help Illini fans recycle bottles and cans and keep more items out of the landfill. Vehicles entering Lot 31 and adjacent lots were given blue recycling bags for bottles and cans, which they could fill and deposit in a large recycling dumpster near Kirby Avenue and First Street. Smaller recycling containers were available in Grange Grove. More than 1,380 pounds of bottles and cans were diverted from local landfills over the two events!

March 2, 2023 Zero Waste Basketball game:

  • Coke, Athletics, F&S, and iSEE partnered for this event at the State Farm Center as the Illini took on Big Ten rival Michigan. About 100 volunteers worked to collect recyclables and help fans find the proper bins. More than 1,280 pounds of beverage containers and other recyclables were diverted from the landfill — a 28% diversion rate for the evening! The hope is to make an increased number of athletic events zero waste moving forward after an excellent first year.

Major “Don’t Waste” events in Fall 2022:

  • Coca-Cola and all partners worked together in August during the massive New Student Welcome Event on and around Grange Grove after Convocation.
  • Coke, Athletics, F&S, and iSEE partnered for a Zero Waste Basketball Game on Nov. 14, at the State Farm Center in honor of America Recycles Day on Nov. 15 — at which more than 280 pounds of beverage containers and other recyclables were diverted from the landfill (see video above!).

Additionally, digital sign boards around campus will remind the community to use the proper bins, and the embedded QR code leads directly to the latest on all recycling efforts and bin locations: go.illinois.edu/recycling!