At Livermore High, science teacher Stephen Bailey has created a small economy working with student clubs to collect and redeem plastic bottles and aluminum cans, yet one of his main goals is to put himself out of business. To that end, Bailey hopes to eliminate waste before it starts.
Recently, students in Bailey's class studied access to clean drinking water on campus. They found that although many classrooms have access to water faucets, not all had fountains, and many fountains were either unclean, or otherwise inconvenient to use. To address the problem, students wrote a grant application to the Altamont Education Advisory Board for funding to purchase Brita water pitchers. Participating classrooms keep full pitchers of water available for students to drink during class.
The school's ASB Leadership class sold reusable/refillable cups branded with Livermore High's mascot to further promote the waste reduction message and provide a container for students to fill from the new pitchers.
Additional stainless steel water bottles were provided by Livermore Unified School District's conservation consultant David Darlington who received a grant from the city's water supplier to provide the bottles to all freshmen at the two high schools.
While students were tackling the issue at Livermore High, a teacher at Granada High (also in Livermore) won a grant to install a hydration station on campus. The station replaces an existing water fountain with a new device that includes a traditional fountain as well as a bottle filling function. Because the manufacturer of the hydration station was offering a two for one deal, the school district was able to purchase two stations and install one at Livermore High.
The new device, installed in the 300 wing of campus, includes a digital counter that measures how many single use disposable plastic bottles were conserved by refilling reusable containers instead. In the first month and a half of the school year, over 7,000 bottles were eliminated from the waste/recycling stream as students filled approximately 200 bottles per day at this station.
Bailey is working with his students and campus administration to develop a plan to install new hydration stations across the campus. "Our next target is the gym- we see a lot of plastic water bottles there during sporting events, hopefully this can help reduce some of that waste."