Wellesley High School last year installed a couple of newfangled drinking fountains that let you sip from a stream as usual, or fill up your water bottle via a special spigot. Anecdotally, we’d heard the students weren’t blown away by the advance initially, so I was skeptical when I recently came across a Sustainable Wellesley newsletter item about Upham Elementary School getting such a water dispenser amidst claims that “These have been a huge hit at Wellesley High School, saving thousands of plastic bottles from landfills.”
So I asked for some numbers to back up the claim, and they’re impressive.
The town’s Facilities Maintenance Department points to a digital readout for the first unit, which has diverted what amounts to 24,429 plastic bottles from landfills as a result of students/faculty/staff filling reusable bottles.
The second High School unit, installed in the Cafeteria this past February, saved the equivalent of 18,329 plastic water bottles in an eight-month span, says Joe McDonough, Facilities Director.
The Upham unit, funded by the school’s PTO and installed outside the gym at the start of the school year, has diverted 2,270 plastic water bottles in 7 weeks, he says.
The School Department plans to request at least one of these water dispensers in every school as part of the FY16 capital plan, according to Sustainable Wellesley.