HKUST bans one-time Bottled Water on Campus

What have we done?

HKUST has launched a ban in the academic year of 2017-18 to become a disposable (one-time use) bottled water-free campus. 


Every month, more than 22,000 one-time use plastic water bottles are sold in HKUST campus. Disposable plastic water bottles represent an unnecessary risk to our environment, are made from fossil fuels, and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. This environmental harm is especially needless since water on campus is free, safe (maintained and tested regularly), and widely available.


All new HKUST students received a reusable UST branded water bottle on 1 September 2017 which are now selling in our souvenir shop. An awareness outreach activity was held to educate students about the environmental impact of plastic bottles and how we can contribute to make a change. An “Office Start-Up program” was launched in October 2017 to engage offices to eliminate the use of disposable plastic bottles at meetings and events.

On 22 March 2018, the World Water Day, the sale of one-time use plastic bottled water of 1 Liter or less was eliminated from all vending machines, canteens, Conference Lodge and ParknShop in HKUST Clearwater Bay campus. 17 new water fountains with bottle-filling capabilities new features were also installed around campus to ensure adequate free safe water supply for our students and staff. Bright new artwork were installed on over 22 water locations and water dispensers were available on each floor at the Conference Lodge


How can we contribute?

  1. Offices, departments and schools are asked to eliminate the use of disposable plastic bottles in all meetings, functions, and school-sponsored events.

- For internal meetings, we encourage staff to bring their own water bottles or containers. The Souvenir Shop has many attractive mugs, cups, and reusable bottles that are both eye-catching and school spirited.

- For meetings where guests are invited, consider using water pitchers with filtered water and glass cups or reusable cups. This arrangement shows respect to the guests and is more attractive than store-bought bottles.

- For large meetings and events, you can ask the caterer to provide reusable cups and drinking water (please note that paper cups cannot be recycled). For events over 300 participants without catering, you may consider cleaning services from dishwashing company. There is a small cleaning fee, but the fee is significantly lower than the price of plastic water bottles.

- Include plastic bottled water-free message in your communications channels for guests at events and before meetings. Inform your caterer, event organizer, contractor about the plastic water bottle-free campus initiative for meeting the requirement of your project and include that in tender requirement.

  1. Offices, departments and schools are asked to eliminate the use of disposable plastic bottles in all meetings, functions, and school-sponsored events.
  2.  All the offices, departments and schools were invited to sign up and pledge for the supporting actions of “Office Start-Up program”. Up to now, there are  around 50 units who have made the pledges. Please refer to the list of pledging offices. Free set of pitchers and glass cups / HKUST branded NoWaste biodegradable cups are also available to participating office (while supplies last).                                                                            
  3.  We encourage all students to bring your own water bottle and refill them at our water fountains. There are more than 150 water fountains around campus  in in academic building, Cheng Yu Tung Building, Lee Shau Kee Business Building, student halls and other facilities? Why pay for packaged water when you can get clean and safe water for free? Please click here for the location list of water fountains.                                          
  4. Through green champions activities of Green O’camp and Green Promotional Period events, we educate the student societies to replace the distribution of plastic water bottles for student society activities by sustainable options


Clean and Safe Water at HKUST

Hong Kong enjoys one of the safest water supplies in the world, monitoring is constantly done by the government to provide good quality water to the citizens.

Do you know that in HKUST, we have more than 150 water fountains around the campus in academic building, Cheng Yu Tung Building, Lee Shau Kee Business Building, student halls and other facilities? Each water fountain is installed with filter and UV disinfection that removes particulates and kills bacteria.

Despite the assurance from the government, HKUST is carrying out different measures to deliver the best water quality to the HKUST community.

  1. HSEO has established a potable water monitoring program with the purpose of assuring the campus community on the quality of potable water on campus. Click here to learn more.
  2. Water samples from drinking fountains, water tanks and water taps are constantly retrieved for tests. We ensure potable water on campus complies strictly to WHO guidelines. 
  3. Campus Maintenance Office (CMO) is regularly changing the filter and UV light of the fountains based on the usage rate in different locations. Maintenance support is provided by the CMO and the vendor of the fountains.
  4. Water quality tests are also conducted as an integral part of the new campus building pre-occupancy environmental quality assessment exercise.



Please click the posters to download the resources and share with your colleagues, peers, guests, caterers and partners to promote our bottled water-free initiative.