WARREN, NJ - A small display in the upper right corner of the new water bottle filling stations installed over the summer in Warren Township Schools is a simple reminder of the amount of waste eliminated by choosing to use refillable water containers over disposable plastic bottles.
The display counts the number of plastic bottles avoided each time a student or staff member chooses to refill his or her own reusable version. At last count, Warren Middle School had bypassed nearly 7,000 disposable plastic bottles at its four new water stations and close to 16,000 at an existing refillable station.
Twelve new bottle filling stations have been installed across the school district – 4 at the middle school and 2 in each of the four elementary schools. “It was important for us to be able to provide students and staff access to cold, filtered water in a way that allows them to fill water bottles for continued use back in the classroom. Not only is this good for environmental stewardship but it helps with proper hydration to assist in supporting a healthy lifestyle,” says Superintendent Dr. Matthew Mingle.
Due to the painstaking efforts of skilled maintenance workers Calvin James and Ralph Circelli, the Elkay ezH20 stations were in place by the start of school… which was no small task. “Old fountains had to be removed and plumbing and electric was relocated to fit the new stations. In some cases, new electrical wires were run,” says Buildings and Grounds Supervisor Michael Pate. “Some relocation involved breaking open the block wall and reinstalling new masonry blocks before mounting the new fountain and touching up the paint around them.”
Traditional drinking fountains remain at each of the schools. The new water filling stations include such additional features as water filters, a low energy LED light that helps users see when their bottle is full and, of course, the chance to contribute to taking care of Mother Earth.