At the beginning of the Climate Week NYC, New York City announced a new campaign focused on helping young citizens reduce the amount of plastic waste they produce. The BRING IT campaign was launched in partnership with the reusable bottle company S’well, and thanks to this new year-long partnership, every public high school student across all five boroughs will receive a free reusable bottle. The goal is to displace more than 54 million single-use plastic water bottles in NYC, bottles which would otherwise end up in landfills or travel to the ocean, adding up to the already enormous plastic pollution of the planet.

The campaign was announced by the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability with support from the Department of Education and will support the City’s Zero Waste by 2030 goal. Through the initiative, more than 320,000 students will get S’well or S’ip by S’well reusable bottles which are eco-friendly alternatives to single-use plastic bottles.

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“To reach our goal of sending zero waste to landfills by 2030, we have to upend our whole way of doing things,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The BRING IT campaign will help create a cleaner, fairer city for all by empowering youth to lead the way. We’re proud to partner with a New York City company, S’well, to get this off the ground.”

The campaign does not end with providing high school students with reusable bottles – the first year of BRING IT will include a wide range of programs and events that aim to educate young people about sustainability, will cultivate green job mentorship opportunities, and encourage students to care about the issue and take action.

“We cannot simply leave young people to inherit and then solve our environmental crisis tomorrow, we must equip them with the resources to take action and make different choices today,” said Mark Chambers, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability.

According to the NYC official website, Americans throw away enough plastic water bottles to fill the Empire State Building one and a half times every month. If not recycled (and only some 15 percent of all plastic is), this mind-boggling amount of plastic waste never really goes away – since it is non-biodegradable, plastic only breaks down into smaller pieces and, ultimately, pollutes even bottled water. What is more, the production of plastic water bottles in the U.S. uses 1.5 million barrels of oil a year – enough to power 250,000 homes all year.

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Education and raising awareness are indispensable for creating a future in which plastic waste is not being produced and thrown away in quantities that pose such severe danger to the environment. In line with national averages, every student with a reusable water bottle will be able to displace 167 plastic bottles from the city’s trash and save some $250 in plastic bottles this year. This is a huge difference – and hopefully, the campaign will inspire many similar initiatives in other U.S. cities and also all around the world.

If you want to find out more about how you can be part of the change and help the planet by reducing the amount of plastic you use, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign!

Image source: S’well Bottle/Facebook

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