Waste-Reduction & Resource Awareness Program (WRRAP)

Funded by Associated Students

Take Back the Tap

Welcome to HSU Take's Back The Tap

HSU Takes Back the Tap (TBTT) is a student-led campaign that opposes the privatization of water, particularly the bottling of water and its numerous negative environmental, social and health impacts. We believe that water is sacred and a basic right belonging to all life on this planet.

To address the multifaceted issue of bottled water, students have come together to form the TBTT campaign, one branch of which is under the umbrella of the Campus Recycling Program. Our mission is to reduce the consumption of plastic, single-use water bottles at HSU, to promote drinking local tap water using reusable bottles, to advocate for serious investment in upgrading the water supply infrastructure nationwide so everyone has access to safe, clean drinking water, and to educate the campus and outlying communities about the numerous negative impacts of bottled water.

Hydration Stations

During the spring 2009 semester, TBTT submitted a grant proposal to the Humboldt Energy Independence Fund (HEIF) requesting funds to purchase a Hydration Station and to create a series of educational short-films. On May 12, 2009, the HEIF committee awarded TBTT the grant.

The hygienic, hands-free Hydration Stations (located in the Depot and the K & A building) provide people with an alternative to bottled water by dispensing free, filtered tap water. We hope that these units will help to break the negative perceptions people have about drinking tap water while encouraging folks to take back the tap, meaning that a shift in the way we view our public drinking water systems will galvanize a demand in drinking water infrastructure improvements and investment nationwide, which is a way to combat the privatization of our water systems while improving the quality of our drinking water. We also hope the presence of the Hydration Stations will result in a noticeable decrease in the consumption of bottled water on campus.

Furthermore, the Hydration Stations indirectly address the energy embedded in bottled water. About 80,000 single-use, plastic water bottles are sold at HSU each year. The production, transportation, storage and disposal of bottled water to meet HSU’s annual bottled water demand requires approximately 43 barrels of oil per academic year and releases 35,300 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

11 Reasons to Kick the Bottle Habit:

  1. Producing the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resin bottles to meet global bottled water demand requires approximately 50 million barrels of oil per year.
  2. The Pacific Institute found that the production of bottled water requires as much as 2000 times the energy cost of producing tap water. This includes both the PET material and the energy required to turn PET into bottles.
  3. It takes 4 times the amount of water to manufacture one 16-ounce single-use plastic water bottle than the amount of water that bottle contains.
  4. 86 percent of empty plastic water bottles in the U.S. land in the garbage instead of being recycled. That amounts to about 2 million tons of PET plastic bottles piling up in U.S. landfills each year. Plastics take thousands of years to decompose when disposed of in landfills.
  5. Empty plastic water bottles are also often incinerated, releasing toxic chemicals into the air or they are disposed of in the ocean where the plastic is broken down into smaller and smaller pieces that are mistaken as food by marine organisms.
  6. 40 percent of the bottled water sold in the U.S. and Canada is sourced from municipal tap water (e.g. Dasani, Aquafina, Nestle's Pure Life).
  7. Bottled water is up to a thousand times more expensive than tap water.
  8. Bottled water is regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration, whereas tap water is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, and its water quality is tested only prior to being bottled and shipped to stores. Not every bottle is tested.
  9. Once ready for purchase, bottled water can sit on a shelf for very long periods of time because bottled water companies are not required by law to put an expiration date on the bottles nor are they held legally accountable for any claims they make on their label. The health implications of bottled water include leaching of toxins from the PET bottles into that water, especially if that bottle is exposed to heat or is frozen.
  10. Bottled water undermines the public’s faith in our drinking water supply infrastructure.
  11. Consumers annually spend hundreds to thousands of dollars more on bottled water than water out of their tap. The average cost for tap water is about $2 per 1000 gallons and the average cost of bottled water ranges from $0.89 to $8.26 per gallon. Filling the tank would cost $2 using tap water, and a minimum of $890 using bottled water.


A Comparison of Bottled and Tap Water Using Life Cycle Analysis
Take Back the Tap


National Take Back the Tap
Food and Water Watch
Corporate Accountability International


volunteer opportunities

  • Organize events such as TBTT Day of Action and free water bottle giveaways
  • Organize bottled water-free events with other campus organizations
  • Market TBTT’s goal of eliminating single-use plastic water bottles on campus

Contact: tapthathsu@gmail.com