The water bottle filling station is an inconspicuous amenity at Sequoyah, but could it have a deeper meaning?
The part of the water bottle filler I am personally fascinated with is the window displaying the number of bottles saved. When asked about her reflections on the water bottle counter, Amy Guzman ’24 said, “it’s really interesting because I’m like, wow…we’re really making an impact.” Meanwhile, Sophia Schafer-Wharton ’26 wondered “how accurate it actually is.” Charlotte Biancheri ’26 agrees, observing “I don’t believe that’s actually true.” However, what exactly is a saved water bottle?
To answer this question, I looked at the Elkay website, which explains that our model comes with a “Green Ticker™ [that] informs [the] user of [the] number of 20 oz plastic water bottles saved from waste.” Although the Green Ticker™ is supposed to represent the number of bottles saved, it can easily be misunderstood. To keep things simple: if the Green Ticker™ said we saved over 20,000 bottles, it means we saved around 3,100 gallons of water. As of 2021, Elkay has installed a million water bottle fillers and claims to have saved at least 100,000,000 water bottles, probably more. The impact our water filler has made is undeniably important, and a step towards sustainability and eliminating unnecessary waste.
When most people are asked about the Green Ticker™ they probably respond like Guzman, noting, “I notice that sometimes” or, “ I don’t pay much attention to [it],” like Schafer-Wharton. To those students, I ask: why not? Multiple people I’ve talked to mentioned they look at numbers on other trackers like odometers and consider it just some harmless fun. Schafer-Wharton says when she sees an interesting number her response is “whoo,” while Biancheri says they “find it funny.” Noticing the little things is delightful, so give it a try!