Onsite dining:

Provide filtered water or refill stations on-site.

Install an in-house water filtration and bottling system to filter and bottle your own water.

There are systems that offer on-site bottling for both still and sparkling water, allowing businesses to customize bottles to sell on-site, and then reuse the bottles.

COVID Tip: If a guest is asking to refill their water bottle at the bar, have bartenders offer the guest water in a reusable glass that the guest can use to fill their bottle. That cup would then be considered dirty.

Large-scale venues:

Provide water refills

There are companies that provide water bottle refill stations that can be permanently installed in venues, on campuses, and in large facilities.

Provide or sell reusable water bottles on-site.


Offer water bottle refill stations

There are professional reuse systems with commercial-grade dishwashing services you can work with to either rent reusable bottles for an event or implement a fully managed reusable bottle program. These systems typically manage the logistics of collecting and washing the bottles.

There are also options offering user-pay systems for water refills to maintain water as a critical revenue stream for many venues and events.

Option to brand your bottles if used frequently. (If this is for a unique occasion or a one-time event, the recommendation is to use unbranded bottles that can be reused for other events to maximize the useful life of the bottles.)

COVID Tip: Choose contactless bottle refill stations designed for safety (touch-free sensors, sneeze guards, etc.)

Non-water beverages:

Provide a drink machine like a soda fountain for refills alongside reusable cups, or serve drinks in reusable beverage containers.

Purchase non-water beverages in bulk to avoid plastic packaging where possible.


When reusables are not applicable, choose disposable options that are compatible with available waste management infrastructure.

Approved disposable materials

Materials may include: aluminum or glass.

Aluminum is a solution when recycling infrastructure is in place. Aluminum is nearly infinitely and 100% recyclable and recycling infrastructure for aluminum is widely available globally because there is a high value for the material. These are options for water as well as other beverages (soda, juice, alcoholic beverages, etc.)

Be sure to avoid plastic-lined aluminum cans or bottles, particularly those with BPA lining, which is very harmful to human health.

Warning: Many waste management companies opt to not recycle glass because it is not profitable.

Glass bottles can be a great option when refilled and reused.

Crush glass from bottles to repurpose as building materials on-site.  


Paper Cartons or Tetra Pak

Paper cartons or tetra pak options are some of the most prevalent alternatives to plastic water bottles on the market. These are often composed of multiple layers of different materials that need to be treated in a specialized recycling facility. The infrastructure to properly recycle these materials is not available everywhere.

How to make it work:

For closed venues or events: confirm with your waste hauler they can handle the product you are considering.

For takeaway: confirm that your municipality can recycle the product you are considering.