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CEC Launches “Rethink the Drink” Bottled Water Reduction Pilot Project


The Community Environmental Council announces the launch of “Rethink the Drink,” a pilot project to reduce plastic water bottle usage at Santa Barbara High School and Franklin Elementary School by at least 75 percent this school year.

As part of Rethink the Drink, Santa Barbara High School has received and installed two water refilling stations. Franklin Elementary is scheduled to install a similar station in its cafeteria this month. Students at both schools will now have access to cold, filtered tap water so they can refill reusable bottles instead of bringing or buying plastic bottles of water.

Rethink the Drink is educating students about negative health and environmental impacts of bottled water, such as:.

  • The production and transportation of bottled water is very energy intensive. More than 17 million barrels of oil each year are used to bring bottled water to our stores — enough to fuel one million vehicles for a year.
  • Bottled water is not safety-tested as often as tap water, and can cost more than one thousand times the price of tap.
  • Despite being recyclable, most bottled water is consumed ‘on the go,’ and fewer than 30% of the bottles are recycled. The rest end up in landfills or as trash in storm drains and watersheds.

Rethink the Drink highlights the advantages of refilling canteens instead of using disposable bottles. In addition to providing three cold, filtered water stations at the pilot schools, the project is distributing stainless steel canteens to all six hundred students and staff at Franklin Elementary. At Santa Barbara High, two hundred canteen are being distributed with the help of the Dons Net Café student entrepreneur class. This pilot project is funded by the Orfalea Foundations.

According to SBHS Principal Mark Capritto “The installation of the filtered refill water bottle stations in our main hall will add significantly to the other programs on our campus that include waste management and recycling.” Principal Casie Kilgore at Franklin Elementary says “ We are so lucky to provide filtered water to our entire school community. It is helping students drink more water and stay away from high sugar juice drinks. Our kids are eating better and going green.”

Rethink the Drink is also partnering with MedBridge Development and the Montecito Union School Green Team to install additional refill stations at Santa Barbara Junior High School, Montecito Union School and Westmont College.

About the Community Environmental Council

The Community Environmental Council is an environmental non-profit established in 1970, currently focused on renewable energy, green building and sustainable transportation. Our goal is to end our region’s dependency on fossil fuels in one generation – Fossil Free by 2033.



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