My son and I have been toting reusable bottles around, but "leading by example" hasn't caused everyone we know to see the light yet. Go figure. Since the water bottle issue has been so much in the news this year, maybe it is a good time to try to do a little more.
My day job is teaching art at a public school. It is a great place to work, the kids are good and the staff very friendly. But because the students are encouraged to bring their own water (to cut down on trips to the water fountain?) there are plastic bottles everywhere. Last year I was constantly picking them up from the floor after classes left the art room. And from the trash can, because they just never make it into the recycling bin.
So I have decided that everyone must have a permanent bottle. Ideally there will be lots of different ones, so the kids can tell which one is their's. But I don't think just encouraging parents to go look for their own will do the trick.
So last week I contacted Klean Kanteen, the company that makes stainless steel water bottles, to find out about volume discounts. I was also curious about whether other schools or institutions were distributing bottles to cut down on their plastic waste. They replied that they could indeed sell the bottles to us wholesale, and said that they had been contacted by other schools who use the bottles for fundraising. So I'll be taking the info they sent me to work, and will see if either the administration or the parent's association would be interested in the project.
I anticipate some resistance, but have my arguments lined up. Yes the initial cost seems high, but not compared to spending $1 per day on a disposable bottle. A reusable bottle pays for itself in 2 to 3 weeks. And in case they are misplaced, everyone should write their child's name and class number on them with a permanent marker. (My son began using his bottle last year when he was in Kindergarten, and has yet to lose it.)
In the mean time, I am looking for resources to use at school to raise awareness about why the bottles are a problem. There is a nice video produced by P.O.V., and I am looking around for posters, buttons, et c. This is totally outside the scope of my (art) program, so I am not sure how I'll approach the project. So stay tuned for updates, and if you have any ideas (or have tried something like this yourself) please let me know.