Creating Green Initiatives and New Long Term Traditions
Challenge: to reduce the amount of disposable plastic waste from water bottles being purchased and disposed of at the school that end up in landfill and to educate students on the negative environmental impact of plastic waste.
Solution: the installation of a Water Refill Station and Drinking Fountain with a green ticker to measure the number of plastic bottles saved from landfill.
Result: an increase in the number of students carrying reusable water bottles to refill at the Water Station and a decrease in the amount of plastic waste produced by the school.
Cheltenham Girls’ High School is a comprehensive High School for girls situated in the leafy suburb of Cheltenham in Sydney’s North West. It was established in 1958 on the former residential estate of the Vicars family who are linked to the early history of Parramatta.
Miss Bessie Mitchell, the founding principal was awarded an MBE for her services to education and following her death in September 1998 she is still remembered as an inspirational figure and vital part of the school’s history.
The school values the strong partnership between staff, students and parents which emphasizes the importance of open and regular communication and current students continue to strengthen the schools culture whilst creating new traditions and initiatives as well.
In 2014, the Student Green Team Leadership Group saw a need to reduce the amount of plastic disposable water bottles being purchased and thrown away. The environmental impact of this plastic waste is vast. Not only does the plastic end up in landfill, but also in the oceans and waterways where it is killing the bird and marine life because they mistake it for food.
It takes an average of 450 years for a disposable plastic bottle to breakdown so every plastic bottle saved from landfill helps the environment. In Australia over the period of one year, the manufacturing of plastic bottled water generates more greenhouse gas emissions than 13,000 cars do in the same time. This is as a result of electricity and fuels being used for water extraction, transportation, refrigeration, recycling, disposal and manufacturing. It is also expensive with Australians spending over $500,000,000 a year on bottled water when the quality of tap water is excellent. One bottle of purchased water can cost $2.50 for 500 ml compared to a few cents per liter of tap water.
Working towards the goal of providing students with free good quality chilled drinking water, the Green Team looked for a sustainable solution that was best suited to the school’s needs.
The aquafilUS range of Water Refill Stations and Drinking Fountains offers a wide range of units to choose from. As well as being wheelchair accessible, the units have a range of optional features, such as water meters to track usage, filtered or non-filtered options and display panels that can be used for artwork, advertising or displaying notices and messages.
The wheelchair accessible wall mounted water refill station and drinking fountain best suited the schools requirements offering chilled water, hands free automatic bottle refilling with a 20 second shut off timer, soft mouth guard drinking fountain, anti-bacterial protection and a green ticker that records how many bottles have been saved from landfill.
The installation of the water refill station and drinking fountain has helped encourage both staff and students to refill their own drink bottles instead of purchasing bottled water whilst also increasing awareness of the negative impact plastic waste has on the environment. It also helps encourage students to drink more water by giving them easy access to an unlimited supply of fresh chilled drinking water which has a positive and healthy impact.
This has been a great result for the Cheltenham Green Team Leadership Group who has reduced the amount of plastic waste produced by the school whilst providing free chilled drinking water creating a WIN WIN situation for the environment and the school community.
Challenge: Environmentally sustainable initiatives to help reach goal of becoming a ‘Green Star – Education v1’ enterprise.
Solution: Water refill stations and drinking fountains across three Deakin campuses.
Result: A sustainable initiative in the effort to achieve best practice water conservation.
Working towards its goal of being a ’Green Star – Education v1’ enterprise that integrates environmental sustainability principles into all of its operations, policies and activities, Deakin University has installed aquafil™ water refill stations and drinking fountains in key locations across three campuses.
Challenge: Finding innovative ways to achieve the communities strategic plan 2013-23 objective relating to practicing sustainable living and reducing their ecological footprint.
– Installing a permanent water refill station and drinking fountain at Reddall Reserve on the Lake Illawarra foreshore
– Providing portable water refill stations at Council’s major events in key public places.
Result: Taking a step closer to being a leader in Environmental Sustainability by supporting and encouraging the community to practice sustainable living by reducing plastic waste from disposable drink bottles.
10 aquafil Water Refill Stations made their debut in the the 2014 LA Marahon held on Sunday March 9.The ASICS LA Marathon draws thousands of competitors from across the USA all running to help raise funds for the LA Marathon Official Charity program.
The 46.16km (26.2 m) Stadium to Sea course was used this year and runs from Dodger Stadium to the Pacific Ocean passing through a number of LA’s famous landmarks such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, Rodeo Drive and Santa Monica Pier.
The average race time was 5:26:19 and 12,385 men and 9,119 women completed the race. The men’s winner was Gebo Burka with a time of 2:10:37 and Amane Gobena was the womens winner with a time of 2:27:37.
10 portable aquafil Pulse Water Refill Stations with Drinking Fountains were attached to water hydrants along the race route to supply spectators with drinking water whilst watching the race. These units also displayed the Drink Tap message making them a valuable tool in promoting the use of refillable water bottles and reducing the number of one use plastic water bottles being sold.
Reduce Reuse Recycle Refresh
Find out more about the LA Marathon
Billions of plastic disposable bottles are sold around the world each year and most of them end up in landfill, oceans and waterways. This is a major environmental disaster in itself, not to mention the millions of barrels of oil used in the manufacture of plastic bottles.
It is time to encourage people to make the right choice. Stop buying disposable bottles and carry a reusable bottle. It sounds like, and it is an easy solution but getting the message across it not that easy. With so many options of plastic bottled water readily available to buy, one forgets the negative impact that purchase is having on our environment.
Whilst more and more council, parks, schools, universities and local communities are installing Water Refill Stations and Drinking Fountains within their precincts, there are still areas where free, clean drinking water is not available.
Shopping centres and malls are slow on the uptake to supply free drinking water to customers, probably due to the fast food outlets wanting to continue selling bottled drinks at exorbitant prices and let’s be honest; nobody wants to refill their bottle in the public restrooms.
Fast food outlets should be encouraged to join the fight against plastic waste as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility. It would be a huge step in the right direction for our environment if the large fast food chains started promoting free drinking water whilst removing plastic bottled water from their fridges. To ensure no loss of revenue, they could sell branded stainless steel reusable bottles.
Think of the impact this could have on the environment and how 10 years down the track, it would be considered normal to always carry a reusable water bottle. We would have a new generation totally unaware that drinking water used to be available for sale in plastic disposable bottles.
More and more outdoor event organisers are encouraging the use of reusable stainless steel bottles. This alone has a huge impact on the environment and also means less mess at the events conclusion.
The UK Glastonbury Festival, held in June 2014, is giving away 2000 stainless steel reusable bottles to road crew and band members and will have them for sale for festival goers. The 140,000 ticket holders are being encouraged to buy or bring a reusable bottle to refill at one of the 400 drinking water points scattered around the venue. This is a great initiative and encourages other event organisers to do the same. Read more…
In an effort to build a healthy environment and lifestyle, it is time to get rid of the plastic disposable bottle.