New York City is taking a big step towards its goal of going zero waste by 2030. The city has partnered up with S’well to provide all NYC public high school students with their own sustainable steel bottle — a move that could eliminate 54 million single-use plastic water bottles from the city in one swoop.
More than 320,000 students will receive a S’well bottle as part of the BRING IT campaign, which encourages high schoolers to bring their new bottles to class instead of disposable plastic options. Through the free swag, the campaign hopes to inspire this next generation to reduce waste, and adopt eco-friendly habits while they're still in their teens.
BRING IT cites an alarming statistic that Americans throw away enough plastic bottles to fill the Empire State Building one and a half times every month. By equipping New York City students with complimentary S’well bottles, the campaign hopes to lower that number.
"To reach our goal of sending zero waste to landfills by 2030, we have to upend our whole way of doing things,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a press release.
“The BRING IT campaign will help create a cleaner, fairer city for all by empowering youth to lead the way. We're proud to partner with a New York City company, S'well, to get this off the ground.”
Sarah Kauss, the founder and CEO of S’well, added in the release: “I am so proud to be a part of a program that is creating real impact for New York City, S'well's home. Together, we are developing a platform for change, offering today's youth and tomorrow's leaders the knowledge, resources and inspiration to address the global challenges posed by waste and single-use plastic bottles through meaningful actions."
The partnership is a natural extension of ongoing projects from both the city and S’well. For New York, the move is one of many in the race to zero waste. The current plan calls for expanded textile and electronic recycling programs, compost collection, and a 90 percent reduction in commercial waste disposal to help the city hit its goal of achieving zero waste by 2030.
On the S’well side, this collaboration could help the company hit the goal of its Million Bottle Project. By 2020, S’well is hoping to divert 100 million plastic water bottles from landfills, waterways, and other locations. The company is encouraging fans to take the pledge to “reduce the use” online, pointing to the statistic that individuals use 167 plastic water bottles each year — but less than a third are recycled.
"We cannot simply leave young people to inherit and then solve our environmental crisis tomorrow, we must equip them with the resources to take action and make different choices today," Mark Chambers, director of the Mayor's Office of Sustainability, said in the press release.
"We are honored to partner with S'well, our students, and our schools to end single-use plastic waste and transform how we live, work, and play in our city."