A new water bottle filling station was installed this week at Clark Botanic Garden in Albertson. The station is one of dozens that will soon be available at parks and schools in North Hempstead.
The filling stations will replace many of the town’s outdated water fountains. They are designed to sip directly from them or to refill a personal water bottle. The initiative is intended to enable people to stay hydrated while reducing the need to purchase disposable plastic bottles that could wind up in landfills.
“Our young people get it that plastic bottles are not good for the environment,” Town Councilman Thomas Dwyer, who sits on the town’s ecological commission, said in a press release. “Laying the foundation for them to become environmental stewards is a priority for us in Town government.”
The new filling stations are thanks to a collaboration with the Town of North Hempstead and Smart Tap, a Greenwich, Conn. company that partners with corporations to supply filling stations to municipalities at no cost to taxpayers.
According to the town, only 13 percent of plastic water bottles end up being recycled, 1.5 million tons of plastic water bottles end up in landfills each year, and in 2011 Americans spent more than $21 billion on bottled water.
The stations give residents “access to clean filtered tap water, which contributes to a healthy lifestyle,” said North Hempstead’s Chief Sustainability Officer Fran Reid. “At the same time we are protecting our environment by keeping plastic bottles out of our landfills.”
The company has installed filling stations in Brooklyn, as well as Stamford, CT; Malibu, CA; and Watertown, WI.
Project Independence Discussed at U of Illinois Class
Project Independence, North Hempstead’s aging-in-place program, was the subject of a recent graduate class at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
The topic was discussed in Professor Brad Winick’s planning communities for an aging population class at the university’s College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs.
Winick contacted the town about a collaboration after reading a featured article on Project Independence in Planning Magazine. The session was led remotely by former North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman.
Now, the students are tasked to find a random community and research the measures needed to create an aging-in-place program in their community.
“I’m trying to get my students past the thinking that senior housing is limited to complexes that say ‘senior housing’ on it,” Winick said, in a statement. “I think North Hempstead has that part figured out.”