The newest endangered species in the U.S.? Drinking fountains.
Misperceptions about the quality of tap water compounded by a failure to replace older drinking fountains has led to a slow and quiet fading of what used to be an essential part of our public spaces. Years of neglect has created an unappealing and often ill-perceived image of public fountains.
Without blowing this out of proportion, the consequences are indeed dire. A lack of free, easily accessible water will inevitably cause people to turn to expensive bottled water or sugary beverages to quench their thirst. And the sad reality is that these options are not only inferior, they are a dangerous threat to the environment.
Meet the Bottle Filling Station. It’s good looking and knows its way around a reusable water bottle; inherently environmentally-friendly, it’ll make drinking water cool again.
The full blown future of hydration has arrived. Here are 9 reasons to love it:
1. Quick and easy
Say goodbye to the days of the sideways bottle fill. That 45 degree tilt that left you with a half empty bottle is finally a thing of the past. Simply place your bottle down and let Elkay’s sensor-activated spout fill up your bottle, hands-free and 3x faster than a traditional fountain.
2. Extra clean
Hands; They’re America’s public enemy #1 in spreading germs. Contrary to popular belief, there is almost no risk of contracting a disease from most drinking fountains, as the spout is constantly being rinsed and therefore constantly being cleaned. However, on a traditional bubbler, parts touched by the hands are most likely to carry germs. The recessed spout coupled with the sensor-activated bottle fill solves this problem, keeping bacteria and virus risks out of the equation.
3. No more excuses to drink bottled water
Grandma always tells my brother to quit smoking and, in a couple of years, he’ll have enough money for a car. QUIT PAYING FOR BOTTLED WATER. Not only is it 2,000X more expensive than tap, three times the amount of water used to fill the bottle is needed to produce the plastic.
Also, if you think you’re doing the planet a favor by reusing disposable water bottles, you’re mistaken. Not only will the bottle eventually end up in the trash, in the meantime, you’re exposing your body to BPA, a harmful chemical that can cause conditions like breast cancer. By encouraging the use of reusable water bottles, the hydration station keeps your thirst quenched and rewards your behavior with a ticker showing the number of plastic bottles your community has saved from ending up in oceans or landfills. Tap: 1, Plastic: 0.
4. Trust in the fountain, Luke
Water is undoubtedly the best hydration option… so, how do we encourage people to drink more? Centers for Disease Control researcher, Stephen Onufrak, has found that the less young people trust water fountains, the more sugary beverages they drink. Exacerbating the problem, people are misinformed about tap water even though, in reality, it is much more strictly regulated than bottled water. Another little known fact is that bottled water does come with an expiration date. Over time, the materials used to make the plastic bottles, “begin leaching into the liquid, which affects its taste and could create a serious health hazard.” So, while bottled water may seem harmless from the outside, its standards of quality and manufacturing process are not as pure as you’d think. Bottle filling stations on the other hand inspire trust in both quality and safety that, in turn, encourage more hydration.
5. More hydration = less obesity
Studies have found sugary beverages to be highly linked with obesity and diabetes, especially in children and young adults. Hydration, however, is positively correlated with everything from flushing out toxins and increasing muscle efficiency to having more beautiful skin. Unfortunately, people are still drinking sugary beverages. Behavior change isn’t easy, especially for the young people most at risk; quality drinking fountains give society the tools it needs to stay healthy.
6. High quality h2o
Worried about tap water quality? You probably shouldn’t be if you live in the U.S., but the water filter option will provide you with added assurance. The standard Elkay filter screens for aesthetic chlorine, taste, odor, particulate class I and lead. It even has a sensor showing when the 3,000 gallon capacity filter needs to be replaced. This is water quality at its finest, folks.
7. Clean water should be a right
Considering 1 in 38 children in the U.S. is predicted to have lead poisoning, the issue of water equity, especially during childhood when the consequences of exposure can be far more devastating, has never been more pressing. Additionally, because lead poisoning, “disproportionately affects children in low-income families living in older housing,” it only adds to a growing list of socioeconomic disparities. By installing water bottle filling stations in public areas and schools, children have greater access to healthy water.
8. The water cooler effect
Looking to boost productivity in your office? Researchers at MIT showed that hanging around the office water hole has been proven to do just that, in addition to increasing worker satisfaction. Whether it be the kitchen sink or a modern bottle filling station, human beings are social animals and water cooler chitchat is a proven producer of social cohesion.
9. The future of hydration
Functional improvement in a drinking fountain design has finally arrived. With filtered water, a green design and an inherent compatibility with reusable bottles matched only by the water dispenser on your fridge, the bottle filling station will change the way we hydrate. Built for all types of organizations, price points, and floor plans, water bottle filling stations are much more adaptable compared to traditional water fountains. Elkay isn’t stopping here though; with its “Enhanced” bottle filling stations, the company is taking hydration to the next level.
What are the water fountains like in your school or community? Share below!