In an effort to eliminate plastic water bottle waste, New Trier High School's Environmental Club is distributing 4,900 free, reusable Nalgene water bottles to all students and staff.
The original Nalgene project was the brainchild of alumnus Greg Vasilion '13. His idea was put into motion by current seniors Maxwell Kanter and Jacob Weinstein this fall after they met with school administrators to propose a strategy to promote environmental sustainability.
"The Environmental Club noticed the amount of plastic used by students was immense," Kanter said. "Instead of completely banning water bottles from the school, we decided on an alternative that would work for everyone; we were going to promote the use of reusable water bottles."
Seventy boxes of Nalgenes - each donning a green New Trier logo and blue cap - were ordered and delivered before winter break. The Environmental Club began distributing the bottles last week
"Everyone seems really excited about them," Weinstein said. "It's great that New Trier helped us with this project."
Vasilion was inspired to push for reusable bottles at New Trier after Loyola University students voted to ban the sale of single-use plastic water bottles at its campus in 2012, Environmental Club sponsor Raquelle Brennan said.
The Environmental Club picked up the project in the spring of 2016 after learning that the amount of discarded plastic in the United States equates to four times the diameter of the Earth.
"The students have been working on this project, and I am thrilled to see their ideas become a reality," Brennan said. "They have worked tirelessly from start to finish, and in cooperation with administration and Physical Plant Services staff. I am so proud of their dedication to working towards less plastic water bottle waste at New Trier."
The District has installed refillable water bottle stations throughout both campuses in recent years, and the club will now be monitoring them to see how the project is going.