DPNR/ MBW to Launch ‘Refill Bottles, Not Dumpsters’ Program in Schools

plastic bottles, crushed and ready to recycle

DPNR and non-profit, My Brother’s Workshop have announced their partnership on project “Refill Bottles, Not Dumpsters.” DPNR’s Division of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) and S&D Consulting have teamed up to bring this project to the territory. The program will provide public schools with ready access to clean drinking water.

Kitty Edwards, the education and outreach coordinator of DPNR-CZM, began working on this project after seeing the need to eliminate single use plastic bottles and provide drinking water that has been filtered of any impurities that may affect a school’s water supply.

Many of the schools don’t have consistent access to clean drinking water, and students are being asked to bring two single use plastic water bottles to school, per day! For a school like Lockhart Elementary on St. Thomas, which will have approximately 800 students this year, that means 1,600 single use plastic bottles could be thrown into our overtasked landfill a day, or worse, be released into the marine environment.

“Refill Bottles, Not Dumpsters” has been launched through a partnership grant from the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands (with funding from Fundación Banco Popular’s Puerto Rico Abraza las Islas campaign) and sponsorship from the Virgin Island’s American Institute of Architects. Through the sponsorship of these two organizations, MBW and DPNR will be able to install four stand-alone filtered bottle fill stations in the territory’s schools.

One will be installed in Lockhart Elementary on St. Thomas, one in Eulalie Rivera Elementary School on St. Croix, and two in Eudora Kean High School on St. Thomas. Along with the filtration systems, these sponsorships will provide each student at these three schools with a reusable stainless steel water bottle. Each student who receives a reusable bottle will also take part in water quality and waste reduction education.

“As the philanthropic arm of Popular Virgin Islands, we are proud to support the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands and My Brother’s Workshop’s collaboration on such an important sustainability initiative,” Said Beatriz Polhamus, executive director of Popular Bank and Fundación Banco Popular.

The goals of the project are also to bring potable water to public schools and to reduce the impacts of plastic pollution in the territory. As the program grows MBW and DPNR look forward to bringing in more partners in schools, non-profits and island businesses. They hope to soon have clean water bottle fill stations in schools across the territory.
If interested in learning more about the program or becoming a sponsor, contact Chrystie at communications@mybrothersworkshop.org or 715-2765.