Plastic Oceans International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to solving plastic pollution, today announced it has relaunched Rethink.Refill., an education program that empowers youth, prevents plastic pollution and delivers clean drinking water to underserved schools worldwide.
Rethink.Refill. provides water refilling stations and reusable bottles to teach students about plastic waste. They participate in a solution that eliminates single-use plastic bottles from the waste stream.
The program operates at five schools in the US and Mexico. Rethink.Refill. was recently implemented at three Mesa Public Schools, including Crismon Elementary, Ida Redbird Elementary and Washington Elementary in Mesa, Arizona. Plastic Oceans Mexico implemented the program at Chumpón and Tres Reyes community schools in Sian Ka’an, Quintana Roo.
“Plastic pollution affects everyone, regardless of socioeconomic standing, and Rethink.Refill. levels the playing field,” said Julie Andersen, Global Executive Director, Plastic Oceans International. “By reaching underserved communities, more youth are better equipped to evaluate their plastic usage, affect change, and improve upon solutions from an early age. Education and data are a powerful combination to empower the next generation.”
Rethink.Refill. offers a quantifiable way to track the amount of plastic pollution students prevent from entering the environment. They can track their school’s success and use it as a tool to encourage other members of their community to join in plastic pollution prevention.
“Crismon Elementary feels blessed to have received a water refilling station, which we placed in the multipurpose room, where every student has physical education, and breakfast and lunch are served daily,” said Sandi Kuhn, Principal, Crismon Elementary. “We are planning a contest inviting Kindergarten to first-grade students to draw a picture about recycling, and second to sixth-grade students to write about recycling, where the winning entries will receive a reusable water bottle. Our water refilling station complements several school activities where our students help the environment, and reducing plastic pollution is another way the students can give back to make the world a better place.”
Plastic pollution affects everyone on the planet, so Rethink.Refill. focuses on underserved schools to ensure that more youth are educated and afforded learning opportunities to tackle and solve the problem. The program aims to benefit communities with unsafe water, that experience poverty, and which lack education and resources to address plastic pollution.
Schools can purchase additional reusable bottles for students and faculty at the Rethink.Refill. program wholesale cost to enhance plastic pollution prevention. This is where Rethink.Refill. offers a social entrepreneurship component. Reusable bottles can be sold as a school fundraising tool. Profits can support the school, be donated to Rethink.Refill. or benefit another cause.
Plastic Oceans seeks mission-aligned funding in order to implement Rethink.Refill. Companies have a vested interest to solve plastic waste by supporting youth education and strengthening the local communities where they operate.
Footprint sponsored the program for Mesa Public Schools, because the Arizona-based tech company focuses on eliminating plastics through sustainable packaging, particularly from food and the oceans. Tommy Hilfiger sponsored the program in Sian Ka’an to raise awareness about the worsening plastic pollution problem, and its environmental and health impacts.
Plastic Oceans works with schools to tailor and implement Rethink.Refill. Secondary companies maintain the water refilling stations in schools once the program is operating.