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Last night I participated in a panel discussion at a cute little theatre in Asbury Park following a showing of the documentary film, “Tapped“. I’ve never been up on a stage under lights so bright that you couldn’t see anyone in the dark audience. Otherwise, I would have thanked the person who shouted out “REFUSE” during the program. Refusing bottled water and explaining why, is not a bad way to help turn back the bottled water invasion.
I have refused any number of things on the grounds of not wanting to be wasteful, but I hadn’t thought of it as an actual strategy that could be added to the existing three Rs until last night. I found this graphic where the three “Rs” had been expanded, so why not add another?
My personal favorite is refusing the bottles of water already on the tables at my favorite restaurant. In stores, I sometimes have to refuse disposable bags numerous times during the check-out process, or they’ll put something in one. On Sunday, we were supposed to individually wrap some goodies for a bake sale at church – are you kidding? Today, of all days, they are selling bottled water at the middle school talent show. Time to say no, again.
This “R” has the potential to save both time and money as well as reducing waste. The challenge is in communicating the REFUSE in a persuasive way without getting people annoyed. I may have to work on that!
It’s almost springtime! Festivals and all sorts of events in their planning stages will soon be blooming like spring flowers all over the land. For the many Earth Day celebrations, “Green” fests and other events trying to operate more sustainably, there are ways to quench people’s thirst without resorting to cases or truckloads of bottled water.
For small events, like school field days and picnics, there are large “Gatorade” style containers that can be filled with tap water and ice. Everyone can bring their own reusable bottles to fill at the coolers as necessary. Just make sure the bottles are labeled with names before the fun begins! If it’s unlikely that most people attending your event will bring reusable bottles, you could offer disposable cups made out of PLA (corn plastic) or Bagasse (sugarcane fiber) that is biodegradable or cups made with some recycled material content. You will probably need to order these cups online and factor in time for shipping.
With a little upfront planning, it is even possible to free larger events like outdoor festivals from bottled water. For a helpful ten step program, I highly recommend the Food and Water Watch guide: “Free Your Event from Bottled Water, A Practical Guide to Take Back the Tap at Your Next Event and Avoid the Waste, Expense, and Environmental Problems with Bottled Water. Once you confirm that your caterer and vendors are on board, you need to identify the best tap water source, decide if you want to filter it, and calculate how much water you’ll need (1.5 liter/person). Next, plan self-serve water stations and choose serving containers. The final steps involve identifying partners to defray costs (e.g. municipalities, utilities, and water filtration companies), publicizing your event as bottled-water-free, and lining up volunteers to make it run smoothly.
An easy way to raise money to fund events large and small, while spreading the Back2Tap movement, is to sell custom logoed reusable stainless steel bottles. Please visit http://www.back2tap.com/ to learn more about how Back2Tap can help you “green” your event and raise money!
How about kicking off a Back2Tap campaign for your school’s Earth Day celebration on April 22! This movement against the ridiculous wastefulness of bottled water, is gaining momentum in schools across the country. Once students are made aware of the problem, it is easy for them to take action by drinking tap water from a reusable bottle and making their own drinks using concentrated drink mixes with tap water. These very simple steps toward sustainability are easy for students to comprehend and feel good about.
Back2Tap offers free downloadable educational resources, including a fun 9 minute video about the wastefulness of bottled water and everything you need to know about tap water, suitable for ages K-8, but guaranteed to be enlightening to high school students and adults, too. Classroom activities include making a bottle tower out of discarded disposable plastic water bottles, conducting a drinking container survey, collecting and categorizing waste for a day, and more. These resources will raise students’ environmental awareness and their understanding of sustainability and are well suited for either an Earth Day assembly or for classroom activities.
The educational program can be followed up by our green fundraising campaign. Back2Tap partners with a representative from a PTO/PTA, Boosters, faculty, or student group to sell high quality reusable stainless steel bottles with custom logos to members of the school community. Do something good for the planet and for your budget with our Back2Tap campaign! To learn more, please visit http://www.back2tap.com/fundraising2.html.