Introducing a water refill station at your school is a great way to encourage students to bring reusable water bottles every day and to reduce plastic waste. A water refill station is a place on campus where students can refill their water bottle with drinking water. Installing a water refill station makes it easy for students to bring reusable bottles to school, and to make sure everyone has access to fresh, clean drinking water every day. This Activity can be done by installing a water refill station in lieu of a water fountain or by simply refilling a jug of water at lunchtime or during after school activities when a water foundation is not close.
ESTABLISH YOUR SCHOOL’S GRADES OF GREEN TEAM. Ensure that your school has established a Grades of Green Team to help implement Grades of Green’s Research and Advocacy and any other Grades of Green Activities your school takes on in the future.
GET YOUR SCHOOL ON BOARD Set up a meeting with your school’s Grades of Green Team leaders and your principal and campus leaders to discuss implementing Grades of Green’s Energy Classroom Presentation Activity. Let them know why you think it's important for your school to spread awareness about the Earth conservation and protecting the quality of the Earth. Click here for an example email to send to your principal and an example agenda. Encourage your principal and Grades of Green team leaders and members to register on Grades of Green’s website and affiliate themselves with your school’s profile page so these leaders can track your school’s progress. If any questions come up during the meeting, please contact Grades of Green at (310) 607-0175 and we can help answer them. You can also email us here in advance with any additional questions, to get additional tips, or to schedule a practice meeting to help prepare.
SET GOALS AND START TRACKING. What do you want to accomplish by implementing Grades of Green’s this Activity? Whether it’s setting a goal of the number of students involved or the number of gallons of water saved, trees planted, or waste diverted, set a goal and begin tracking your progress so you know when it’s time to CELEBRATE! Record your starting baseline metrics before beginning so you know when you’ve accomplished your goal!
SHARE WITH YOUR SCHOOL! Make sure your school community knows it is implementing Grades of Green’s Water Refill Station as well as the positive impact that this Activity will have on your school. Share facts over the morning announcements about why it is important to take on this Activity, and add them to bulletin boards around campus, to your school’s newspaper or to take-home packets to inspire parents, students and teachers at your school to get involved!
PICK A WATER REFILL STATION
DECIDE ON A LOCATION It is best to place the water refill station in a location that is easily accessible to students, such as near the lunch area, a main hallway, or the playground. When selecting a location, make sure that all students will be able to access the water refill station easily. If you are installing a permanent hydration station or water refill station, ask school administrators what permits (if any) are required to ensure the location. This may require researching where current water pipe lines are on campus and if any new water pipe lines are in progress.
ENSURE THAT THE WATER STATION IS FULL If you opt for a water jug as a way to refill water bottles, identify an adult on campus, such as a noon aid, cafeteria manager, or custodian who is able to fill the water refill station with drinking water every day. Fresh water should be added before lunchtime so students can use the station while eating their lunches.
SET IT UP! Once the station is in place and ready to use, inform the students about the new addition to the school – and encourage them to use it! You can also advertise the station by putting up a fun, colorful sign.
ENCOURAGE STUDENTS TO BRING REUSABLE WATER BOTTLES Introducing a water refill station is a great opportunity to educate students about the benefits of bringing a reusable water bottle to school every day. Reusable bottles save money, energy, and natural resources, so the more students who are able to bring reusable bottles, the better! Ready to take this activity to the next level? Brainstorm ways to use leftover water with fellow students and administrators. For example, if there are days where a bit of water is leftover in your water refill station jug, you can pour into grass or water a school plant to ensure no water is wasted.
MEASURE THE RESULTS Remember that goal you set earlier? How’d it go? How many students brought their own reusable bottles or how much plastic waste did you conserve? Measure the results of taking on Grades of Green’s Water Refill Station.
CELEBRATE AND SHARE THE RESULTS! Congratulations! You completed Grades of Green’s Water Refill Station for your school and we couldn’t be prouder. You helped inspire and empower students to care for the environment, and the earth is just that much better off as a result! Email us the results you achieved, as well as any photos or videos of your completed Grades of Green Activity. Tag @gradesofgreen on social media so we can help share your story! Whether it’s “before/after” photos or videos showing how you took on the Activity or a shot of your Grades of Green Team in action, email your Advisor and tag us on social media so we can help shout it from the mountains on our website, e-newsletter, and social media. And don’t forget to also let your school community and city government know about your great and green accomplishments.
MAKE IT SUSTAINABLE What can you do to make it this Activity sustainable at your school for years to come? Brainstorm with your Grades of Green Team ways to make the Activity sustainable and part of your school’s everyday culture. We suggest making Grades of Green positions permanent, as well as adding tips and suggestions to your PTA or volunteer handbook and adding a date to the calendar now to re-educate students next year as well!
Benefit to Students
A water refill station allows students to have easy access to fresh drinking water, and makes it easy for students to refill their reusable bottles.
Benefits to the Environment
It takes about 4 ounces of petroleum to produce one single use 16oz. plastic water bottle. By choosing to refill plastic water bottles or better yet, by bringing a reusable stainless steel water bottle to school every day, students are reducing the amount of plastic they use, which in turn conserves the valuable natural resources that are exploited in the process of manufacturing single use bottles.
Families and students will save money by refilling water bottles instead of purchasing plastic, single use bottles. In fact, the average American purchases 167 disposable plastic bottles every year. By encouraging students to use reusable bottles, they can save over $100 every year!