Omar Kamal is a student at Reed High School in Sparks, Nevada and Secretary of the Reed High Eco Warriors, an ACE-inspired Action Team. After winning $3000 in the 2012 GREENevada Student Sustainability Summit (a coalition of organizations including ACE) and two hard years of further fund-raising and negotiating with their school district, last week the Eco Warriors finally unveiled their school's first Hydration Station, a water bottle refilling station, complete with chiller and cool blue light that lights up while you're filling up. Congrats to all Eco Warriors, past and present!
Every day I see classmates walk into first period with their pastic water bottles. Because they were so cheap, each person would buy two per day. You can imagine the amount of plastic waste one person would create throughout the course of the year.
We decided that Reed High School needed a water bottle refill station to reduce Reed's plastic waste from water bottles. On a campus of 2,000 students, many of whom drink 1 or more bottles of water a day, you can image the potential savings in plastic waste a Brita refill station would bring.
For two years we worked on getting the Brita refill station installed into the school. After applying for and not winning a grant, we were finally able to raise enough money through penny drives, bake sales and selling reusable water bottles to fellow students and teachers.
Next, we had to find a location where the Brita station could be placed. Due to the location of the pipes in our school it had to be placed in Red Hall, which is in the middle of our school, to avoid the pipes freezing and damaging the machine.
A week or so ago I was walking down Red Hall and I noticed something on the wall. To celebrate the final installation, the Reed High Eco Warriors had covered the machine with a poster for a week before an unveiling and ribbon cutting ceremony. I have to say I was very excited to finally see the refill station installed.
After the unveiling, we gave out reusable water bottles to the first people to sign a pledge and recycle an old plastic water bottle. Since then, the response has been great! In the first week I have already heard people saying that we need more of them. Hopefully with that positive reception, we will able to put even more refill stations into our school and save even more plastic!