Frequently Asked Questions: Brita


Who from UC Berkeley was involved in reviewing this agreement? What groups will benefit?

The Brita working group encompasses a variety of staff and students drawn from 10 on-campus units, including The Associate Students of the University of California (ASUC), Graduate Assembly, ASUC Student Union, Recreational Sports, Residential and Student Service Programs, Real Estate, Intercollegiate Athletics, University Health Services, the Office of Sustainability & Energy, and the Cal Alumni Association.

Brita working group representatives were involved throughout the process, providing their feedback and priorities to ensure the partnership was aligned with campus values and goals. Working group members will continue to play a key role in providing input throughout the activation process.

How long is this agreement and when does it start?

The proposed agreement is for 10 years, with a mutual opt-out option every 2 years. A full-length contract is expected to be signed this fall. 

Why wasn't a formal RFP issued?

A formal request for proposal (RFP) was not issued because there is no guaranteed business for Brita.  

How does a partnership with Brita support our campus values, such as sustainability, health and social responsibility?

The relationship with Brita will support a variety of campus programs and initiatives including, but not limited to the support of Cal Zero Waste’s “Refills Not Landfills” program, campus Health and Wellness programming identified by the Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC), and Student Environmental Resource Center (SERC) programming. The Brita working group will continue to engage and consult with students and campus experts in these subjects on an on-going basis during the partnership.

The University Partnership Program (UPP) is guided by a comprehensive governance model, which includes faculty, student and staff representatives, as part of our due diligence to identify partners and suppliers that are willing to support our mission of excellence in teaching, research and public service through sustainable and socially responsible practices. Sustainability, sourcing, community impact, and reputation are some factors that were used to evaluate the partnership.

How much revenue will the university receive from the agreement with Brita, and how will it be divided up?

The 10-year agreement will provide approximately $4 million in revenue and support for priority programs and departments, including the ASUC Student Union, Residential and Student Services, Recreational Sports, Cal Alumni Association, Intercollegiate Athletics, Cal Zero Waste, University Health Services, and the Student Environmental Resource Center (SERC). $50,000 will be provided annually in the form of in-kind support through product donations to the campus and funding water refill stations.    

How will the relationship be visible on campus?

Brita products will be offered at Cal Dining retail locations and the Cal Student Store. In addition, Brita will have a presence at Haas Pavilion through access to signage at Cal men’s and women’s basketball games, and would have the option to participate in special campus events, including but not limited to Cal Day, ASUC Open House, Calapalooza, Grad Fest, and Summerfest.

At the same time, Cal Zero Waste is working with Brita on the creation of a filter-recycling program that will support and actively promote the recycling of Brita filters through convenient on-campus locations.

In addition, priority campus locations are currently being evaluated for the installation of new water refill stations in high-need, high-traffic buildings.

How are refill locations being prioritized?

The University has prioritized high-need water refill locations for replacement this first year. Some locations currently under evaluation include the ASUC Student Union, Wurster Hall, Recreational Sports Facilities and California Memorial Stadium. Departments interested in purchasing refill stations for their facilities can work with Facility Services to assess the infrastructure of a requested location for feasibility of installing a refill station. 

Why are we partnering with a water filter company when Berkeley’s tap water is considered high quality and good tasting? 

Brita filters remove contaminants that may impact the taste and odor of water coming from a tap. While the UC Berkeley campus is fortunate to have access to high quality, great tasting and safe tap water, adding filtration can improve the taste, hopefully encouraging our campus community to drink more water. Additionally, the campus recognizes that some individuals feel more comfortable drinking filtered water and may choose this option for a variety of reasons, including convenience. A relationship with Brita provides our campus community with access to great tasting water from any tap, especially when traveling to other locations outside of our community.

Berkeley’s tap water is sourced from the Sierra Nevada snowmelt and travels to EBMUD treatment plants where it is further processed to ensure the water meets state and federal regulatory standards under the Safe Drinking Water Act before it reaches our taps. For more questions about tap water on campus, see the FAQs at I Heart Tap Water.

Besides promoting water, what is Brita doing to support student health and wellness?

Brita is partnering with University Health Services (UHS)–Health Promotion Unit and health-related student groups, such as the Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC), that work with UHS to support health and wellness programming. Initially, the focus will be on promoting water, with future directions to be determined by student-driven priorities. 

Are there added costs to students to replace Brita filters?

For students who change their filters, there would be incremental costs. However, over the life of the filter, the cost of replacement is substantially less than what an individual would see if purchasing the equivalent consumption in bottled water.  Students and the campus community also have the option to use a Brita water bottle or pitcher without a filtration system.