Over the years, it has become commonplace to see our friends and family make an effort to carry their reusable water bottles with them wherever they go. When people leave their homes, no longer do they just check for their cell phone, wallet, and keys, but also for their reusable bottles. Choosing to reuse is a step in the right direction towards reducing single-use plastic water bottles in Humboldt County—but accessibility to water can still be a challenge.
A handful of local businesses, such as Los Bagels and Northtown Coffee, have taken a stand and removed single-use plastic water bottles from their shelves and instead provide an alternative for consumers to refill their reusable bottles in order to stay hydrated. However, unless you go into a restaurant or coffee shop, there isn’t always a place to refill water bottles, especially in public spaces like parks and community centers.
Zero Waste Humboldt recognizes that an important part of reducing Humboldt County’s need for single-use plastic water bottles is not just banning them, but also building the necessary infrastructure throughout the community to increase access to clean and convenient drinking water. This means updating water fountains and installing bottle-refilling stations in locations where the community can most benefit from their use, supporting the effort to “refill, not landfill.”
Zero Waste Humboldt’s Refill Not Landfill: Bottle Filling Station Project focuses on reducing the amount of single-use plastic water bottles in Humboldt County’s waste stream by collaborating with cities and school districts to update public drinking water accessibility. Since the start of the Refill Not Landfill: Bottle Filling Station Project in 2015, Zero Waste Humboldt, with funding from the Footprint Foundation, Strong Foundation, Mad River Rotary, and Coast Central Credit Union, and the support of local partners, have installed three indoor bottle-refilling stations in public buildings, with three more currently being installed.
The most recent projects are at the Municipal Auditorium located at 1120 F Street in Eureka, the D Street Neighborhood Center located at 1301 D Street in Arcata, and Prasch Hall located at 312 S Railroad Ave. in Blue Lake—all graciously funded by Coast Central Credit Union. Installation is planned for summer 2018, so we hope that come fall, community members will have one less barrier to practicing Zero Waste behaviors in Humboldt County. Furthermore, in the near future, Zero Waste Humboldt hopes to be able to continue branching out to other locations, such as McKinleyville and Fortuna, and support the efforts of all communities in Humboldt County to reduce their water bottle consumption. Lets keep choosing to reuse, and don’t forget your reusable water bottle next time you leave the house!