Description of Environmental Purchasing Policy

The EPP section on water use includes the following commodity clusters: Bottled Water, and Water.

Bottled water contributes to the depletion of aquifers and groundwater resources, produces added plastic waste, threatens consumer health, and increases the potential for plastics to leech into groundwater. The sale of bottled water also artificially increases the global price of water, and shifts public attention away from efforts to protect our municipal water sources by giving the illusion of a safe alternative.

The Environmental Purchasing Policy states that every office that has a 5-gallon jug water dispenser must replace it with a water filter-cooler. In the additional resources section, the “So you want a water filter cooler…what is the next step?” document provides step-by-step information on the water filter-cooler contract, pricing, and installment process, as well as more information about why filter-coolers are environmentally preferable.  Purchasers must also buy reusable water bottles for routine use instead of disposable water bottles, and that these bottles should be made out of stainless steel rather than aluminum or plastic.

Waste-Reducing Alternatives to Purchasing Bottled Water

We can’t speak highly enough of New York City’s tap water. New York boasts some of the cleanest municipal water in the world. In fact, most types of bottled water are not subject to the same standards as the water that comes from our taps.

Reusable water bottles are, in the long term, a waste-reducing alternative to purchasing disposable bottles. These stainless steel bottles must only be purchased once, and last a lifetime. Please see below for recommended vendors of water bottles.

What to Consider When Procuring Water

Bottled water and caterers: Refer to the Food and Catering section (Section 4) of this guide for recommendations pertaining to catered bottled water.


Need – Does your office need a filter cooler? Is there a sink conveniently available? Perhaps your co-workers are happy drinking tap water, which is environmentally preferable to and more cost-effective than purchasing a filter cooler.

Placement – Make sure you place your filter-cooler in an accessible location.

Availability and sourcing of re-usable water bottles:

Materials – Metal is preferable to plastic, but within metal bottles, stainless steel bottles are better than aluminum bottles. Also, pick seamless bottles, and, ideally, bottles made from recycled materials that are themselves recyclable.

Price – Water bottles vary in price depending on vendor and specs of bottle, as well as customization requests. Please refer to the information below on Ecousable and Pura, two companies who have worked with NYU, to obtain custom bulk pricing.

Other criteria – Personal preference differs over size of mouth, number of twists to remove the top of bottle, size of bottle, and color/logo on bottle. Remember that a bottle that will be used far into the future is better than a bottle which will not suit user’s daily needs/style preferences and will therefore be disposed of sooner.

Possible Vendors

Water Filter Coolers

Reusable Water Bottles

Additional Resources and Information

NYU Sustainability Advocates Program: “So you want a water filter cooler… What is the next step?”

Ecousables NYU custom price list

Food and Water Watch
More information on the benefits of reducing bottled water consumption.
If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions of vendors for inclusion in future versions of the Environmental Purchasing Guide, please leave a comment in the box below.


1 Comment »

  1. Diana at Wasserman said

    Cananyone recommend a budget friendly vendor for eco products like corn cups?

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