Rethink the Drink started in 2010 with a simple concept: provide schools with an alternative to single-use plastic water bottles and see if habit change followed. Four years later, we are proud to report that habit change is indeed possible. There are now 39 water refill stations in schools and community facilities across Santa Barbara County, and they have been used more than 870,000 times. Creating a single plastic water bottle emits 2.6 pounds of carbon dioxide, thus the amount of carbon dioxide emissions mitigated by our refill stations is more than 2 million pounds.
With funding from local foundations, CEC's Rethink the Drink program has installed 16 refill stations on local elementary, junior high, high school and college campuses since the beginning of 2010. As of this month, schools have used the stations a total of 230,239 times and have dramatically reduced their use of disposable plastic water bottles.