Holmdel High School students can now proudly boast about their school’s water fountain. Yes, water fountain! Thanks to the Eco-Club, a student-based organization in the high school which promotes environmental responsibility, and the Holmdel Green Team, a community based organization dedicated to “greening” Holmdel, a filtered water station has been installed in the Commons. The joint effort of these two groups resulted in this huge accomplishment.
This water station is called the Elkay EZH2O; it has a special feature that enables you to fill up a water bottle. The purpose of this is to encourage students, staff, and visitors to bring a reusable water bottle instead of buying a chemical-leaching, space-taking, energy-wasting single-use plastic one.
The Green Team and ECO-Club decided that this was a worthwhile project because something so simple as bringing a reusable water bottle can have a huge positive impact on the environment. The average single-use water bottle consumer uses five hundred water bottles each year, and only 31% are recycled. This is a massive problem because plastic water bottles are energy and resource intensive to produce and transport. To make matters even worse, the bottles that aren't recycled clog up our landfills and pollute our waterways.
I have heard many people argue that bottled water is cleaner and healthier than tap water. However, this just isn't true; tap water is more strictly regulated than bottled water is, thus it is safer. Other people complain that they don’t like the taste of tap water. The beauty of the EZH2O is that the water is filtered thereby improving its taste.
The Green Team put in a lot of effort over the last two years to help this project come to fruition. Members of the Green Team, especially Patricia Rielly-Geller and the Wilson’s, researched for an appropriate model for the school, pitched it to the School Board for approval and found a venue to purchase it. The head of the Green Team, Dr. Betsy Wilson and her husband generously donated the entire system. The ECO-Club is going to pay for the filters with its club savings, which are usually put towards other charities. ECO-Club sees it as a great opportunity to reduce the waste that their own high school produces.
The water station is currently up and running since Jan. 24, 2013 and students have been enjoying it very much. On Feb. 4, 2013 Eco-Club hosted a Grand Opening Ceremony for the water station. The Board of Ed, Green Team, and all faculty and students were invited. There was a fantastic turnout, and it was a great way to promote the water station in the school and the community. Dr. Elizabeth Wilson and Dr. Robert Wilson, the water station donors, cut the symbolic ribbon.
Then the Wilson’s, Green Team, and Board of Ed members lined up to try out the water station. The Holmdel High School TV Society filmed the event, and interviewed some members of the ECO- Club. The Grand Opening attracted more attention to this eco- initiative, and hopefully spread the word throughout the school and community.
The Green Team plans to encourage the other Holmdel Schools to purchase Elkay EZH20’s. One day it will be clean and convenient for all students of Holmdel to bring a reusable water bottle to school every day. One final note: please consider switching to reusable water bottles. It is good for you, your pocket, and your Earth. Talk about a win-win situation!