Refill McGill

McGill no longer sells bottled water on its campuses as of May 2019

Prior to phasing out the sale of single-use plastic water bottles, the University took multiple steps to increase access to free municipal drinking water. Here's what was done to make tap water the best choice on campus: 

A before and after of a water fountain installationTwenty-seven indoor water fountains were added or retrofitted (20 downtown, six at the Macdonald Campus, and one at the Gault Nature Reserve). Two outdoor fountains were installed on the downtown campus. 

A McGill student refills their water bottle at the custom-made Refill McGill water cart at frosh. Collaborated with event organizers to reduce the number of bottles distributed at major events. As a direct result, orientation now distributes approximately 5,000 fewer bottles each year! Event planners can consult our guide and maps (east campus and west campus) to host bottled water-free events

Refillable bottles are available for $5 at the Le James Bookstore and at participation food service locations. 

A wayfinding sticker is placed down, leading to a water fountain. A campus-wide poster campaign was rolled out while wayfinding stickers were installed, leading to 63 water fountains on campus. 


Graphic of a water drop with the logo 'Refill McGill'

Why choose tap water? 

  • Water bottles create an enormous amount of waste, most of which is not recycled
  • Each litre of bottled water requires 3 litres of water to produce it
  • The manufacturing and transportation of bottled water emits greenhouse gas emissions
  • Clean, free drinking water is a basic human right; it should not be bought and sold as a commodity

What you can do: 

  • Carry a refillable water container with you to work, class or the gym
  • Scope out the location of water fountains and taps near where you study or work
  • Request tap water when you eat at a restaurant or attend a special event
  • If you prefer the taste of filtered water, use a pitcher-type or other filtration device
  • For event planners, please see our comprehensive guide on how to avoid single-use plastic water bottles

The safety of our community is our number one priority! That means in some situations, such as during boil water advisories, we will make single use plastic water bottles available to ensure that everyone at McGill has access to safe drinking water. If you have any questions about the scope of the Refill McGill campaign, please email sustainability [at]

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