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How about kicking off a Back2Tap campaign for your school’s Earth Day celebration on April 22?  This movement against the ridiculous wastefulness of bottled water, is gaining momentum in schools across the country.  Once students are made aware of the problem, it is easy for them to take action by drinking tap water from a reusable bottle and making their own drinks using concentrated drink mixes with tap water.  These very simple steps toward sustainability are easy for students to comprehend and feel good about. 

 

Back2Tap offers free downloadable educational resources, including a fun 9 minute video about the wastefulness of bottled water and everything you need to know about tap water, suitable for ages K-8, but guaranteed to be enlightening to high school students and adults, too. Classroom activities include making a bottle tower out of discarded disposable plastic water bottles, conducting a drinking container survey, collecting and categorizing waste for a day, and more.  These resources will raise students’ environmental awareness and their understanding of sustainability and are well suited for either an Earth Day assembly or for classroom activities.

 

The educational program can be followed up by our green fundraising campaign.  Back2Tap partners with a representative from a PTO/PTA, Boosters, faculty, or student group to sell high quality stainless steel water bottles with custom logos to members of your school community.  Do something good for the planet and for your budget with our Back2Tap campaign!  To learn more about our program, please visit Schools & Groups page on our website or contact us with any questions.

If we had to sum up Back2Tap's company mission in a single word, it would have to be Re-Use-Solution. It fits because we're all about re-use, inciting a revolution against waste, offering solutions, and of course, resolving to do better. So, in honor of the New Year, we'd like to share our "re-use-solutions" for reducing disposable plastic in 2011: 

Custom logoed stainless steel bottles

1. Reusable bottles for drinks on the go. 

2. Reusable sandwich wraps and snack pouches for litter-less lunches.

3. Reusable grocery bags and produce bags to keep in the trunk of your car.

4. Reusable bags that are compact enough to fit into your purse or pocket for small purchases.

5. Reusable coffee mugs to take with you to the coffee shop or work.
 

 

6. Reusable cloths and rags for cleaning up the kitchen and the rest of the house.

7. Reusable cloth napkins with napkin rings for each member of your household.

8. Reusable containers for bringing food home from restaurants and to parties.

Reusable snack pouches

There is a vast array of reusable products that can help make disposable plastic a thing of the past in your home. Please share your Re-Use-Solutions with us by leaving a comment!

Reusable metal water bottles are popping up for sale all over the place these days. At the Go Green Festival in New York City last April, I spotted a stainless steel bottle for $27. At local grocery stores, I’ve seen metal bottles for just $10. Custom logoed bottles can cost anywhere between $3.00 and $13.00. So what’s the difference? It turns out, plenty.

I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying: you get what you pay for.  There are some serious quality issues with the cheap metal bottles – we know because we tested lots of them in the process of choosing a bottle for Back2Tap. We encountered leaking caps, paint that literally peeled off after a few weeks, logos that were printed poorly and faded quickly, thin walls that dented very easily, and poor polishing/finishing on the bottle.

Then there’s the question of what the bottles are made of – a cheap bottle may not be made of food grade materials. If you choose stainless steel rather than aluminum, you won’t have to worry about a cheap liner that may allow unwanted constituents to leach into your beverage. Back2Tap bottles are 0.5mm thick, printed with safe and resilient paints in the USA, and are tested to ensure that they comply with FDA and ASTM standards.

An acquaintance of mine sheepishly admitted to me recently that she had supplied her whole swim team with cheap stainless steel water bottles last winter, and now regrets it. The bottles are so junky no one wants to use them anymore! At the Watchung Hills Green Day event in October, a customer who bought a stainless water bottle at our exhibit table admitted that she had just purchased a cheaper steel water bottle at another table. She bought it solely to support the soccer team even though she knew she would never actually use such a poor quality product.

These two stories highlight the main reason Back2Tap doesn't offer cheap reusable bottles – and we have considered doing so, believe me!   Plenty of suppliers have contacted us hawking their wares. Low quality bottles just don’t perform well and don’t last so they are not durable and useful, key requirements for sustainable products. Back2Tap doesn’t want to be fostering a throw- away mentality by selling cheap stainless steel water bottles because that is exactly what we are trying to combat. We hope that schools selling Back2Tap bottles for a fundraiser do so with the understanding that they are promoting sustainability and environmental stewardship as well as raising funds.

In sum, there are numerous significant differences between cheap, low quality reusable bottles and better more expensive stainless steel water bottles. If you buy an inferior bottle that doesn’t last or doesn’t get used, your effort to be “greener” or live more sustainably will have failed – so don't even bother!  A good reusable bottle can save you hundreds of dollars over its lifetime so it is worth investing in a high quality bottle that you will enjoy using every day.

Aren’t you tired of being asked to buy wrapping paper, candy, popcorn, cookie dough, or magnets at your children’s schools? The offerings are often way overpriced, useless, or just plain bad tasting. Last fall, when I was trying to figure out what sort of environmental project to do at my son’s school, the PTO president complained to me about the girl scouts drinking bottled water at their meetings and how great it would be if they would use reusable bottles. It was like a lightening strike in my mind. YES! That is exactly what we need – reusable school water bottles for everyone!

We convinced the PTO to sell custom stainless steel water bottles school-wide and make it a green fundraiser. Before it was all said and done, it was a town-wide school fundraiser, involving seven schools – the first one of its kind in town. We decided to price the bottles close to retail prices to keep them affordable and still generate some profit for the school. We ended up selling 1500 bottles to a school population of 3500 students and raising over $8000! This was truly something novel: we sold something useful and earth-friendly while raising money for the school. A win – win – win!

After hearing that the Interfaith Food Pantry of Morris County wants to go green, Back2Tap decided to help out.  We donated reusable stainless steel water bottles and reusable cotton shopping bags.

According to Rosemary Gilmartin, Executive Director of the local pantry, “We go through thousands of paper and plastic bags every year and realize that using reusable bags is a better option from both a cost and environmental perspective. We have over 5,000 families coming to the pantry and we would like to be able to offer each family three bags”. 

Rosemary first got started with her reusable bag program by working with Susie Schub, founder and president of Jumpstart, a unique charitable giving program for schools and corporations, that recently held a canvas bag design contest.

Being green not only helps the environment but also allows places like the food pantry to better use their funds for food instead disposable plastic.

For more information on the Morris County Food Pantry, visit their site at www.mcifp.org or call 973-538-8049.