Monday, April 15, 2013

Water filters help reduce single-use plastic bottles

Clear chlorine-free water for your re-useable water container!

Grant money from an Altamont Education Advisory Board paid for these water filters. The filters will be placed in classrooms for use by students and staff. Students fill the filters with water, then fill-up their water containers as often as they like. By doing this, they do not need to purchase single-use water bottles, and we will not need to recycle the single-use container.

LHS Leadership has piloted a program supplying green tumblers to students at cost, which is $5. The tumbler has the LHS emblem on the side and is a familiar green color. Students can use any container they choose, but each time a container is filled, that is one less bottle manufactured, and one less disposed of. In an ideal world, we would be re-using containers instead of recycling them.

An argument can be made that students can simply drink from a drinking faucet. This is a good option, which does not cause plastic to be used what-so-ever. However, the drinking faucet is not at their desk, and is usually not in their classroom. The reuseable water container can be at their desk. Also, many people choose to drink bottled or filtered water to avoid the chorine taste. To entice those people to stop using single-use plastic bottles, this filter is the answer.

To make this work, we hope that students will remember to fill the filter pitcher when it gets low. Each pitcher arrives with a new carbon based filter, and a supply of filters is available in room S4.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Dyson AirBlade Operational in 400 Girls Bathroom

Put your hands in, and this device blows air over your hands drying them off, as you pull your hands back out.

This $1800 device was donated to LHS, and was recently installed in the girls bathroom in the 400 hall. If all works as planned, students will dry their washed hands using the AirBlade instead of using paper towels.

The production and disposal of paper towels is costly to our environment. Trees are cut from the Boreal Forest, and shipped to the paper mill. Paper is manufactured, and shipped to local distributors. Our school district purchases, warehouses, and distributes paper towels for our custodians. Custodians install rolls of paper towels, only to pick them up off the floor or from the waste bin at the end of the day. The used paper towels are then hauled off to the compactor, then to the landfill. All these steps, from cutting the trees, to burning fossil fuels for transportation, to hauling to the landfill can be eliminated by using the AirBlade.

There are natural questions about the AirBlade's use of electricity. The AirBlade does not heat the air, but rather propels air rapidly over your hands using very little electricity. It is like putting your hand in a windstorm. But the amount of electricity is similar to running your vacuum cleaner for twelve seconds. Not much.

The overall operating cost of the AirBlade will be much less than the cost of supplying paper towels.  This will save trees, save money, and it will save time of our custodians! A win-win-win!

Last year, LHS purchased 1,248 large rolls of paper towels at a cost of $6.17 per roll. Can we lower our resource use by wasting fewer paper towels, and by installing more Dyson AirBlades?