Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative (AuSSI)

Encouraging and promoting sustainable schools

March 3, 2015

The Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative has a  holistic approach to support schools and communities to live and work more sustainably.

AuSSI encourages staff, students and community members to improve the  the management of energy, waste, water, landscapes, products and materials whilst integrating these activities into the curriculum to teach the key elements of sustainability.

By taking part in activities designed to teach, students achieve a better understanding of the environment in which they live. They are better equipped with the knowledge and skills to help build a more sustainable  future and have the motivation to do so.

Read more about AuSSI


Cheltenham Girls High School Fighting Plastic Waste

Creating Green Initiatives and New Long Term Traditions

Case Study

February 13, 2015

Challenge: to reduce the amount of disposable plastic water bottles being purchased and disposed of at the school that end up in landfill and to educate students on the negative environmental impact of plastic waste.

Solution: the installation of an aquafil™ Fresh Water Refill Station and Drinking Fountain that has a green ticker to measure the number of plastic bottles saved from landfill.

Result: an increase in the number of students carrying reusable water bottles to refill at the Water Station and a decrease in the amount of plastic waste produced by the school.

Cheltenham Girls’ High School is a comprehensive High School for girls situated in the leafy suburb of Cheltenham in Sydney’s North West. It was established in 1958 on the former residential estate of the Vicars family who are linked to the early history of Parramatta.

Miss Bessie Mitchell, the founding principal was awarded an MBE for her services to education and following her death in September 1998 she is still remembered as an inspirational figure and vital part of the school’s history.

The school values the strong partnership between staff, students and parents which emphasises the importance of open and regular communication and current students continue to strengthen the schools culture whilst creating new traditions and initiatives as well.

In 2014, the Student Green Team Leadership Group saw a need to reduce the amount of plastic disposable water bottles being purchased and thrown away. The environmental impact of this plastic waste is vast. Not only does the plastic end up in landfill, but also in the oceans and waterways where it is killing the bird and marine life because they mistake it for food.

It takes an average of 450 years for a disposable plastic bottle to breakdown so every plastic bottle saved from landfill helps the environment. In Australia over the period of one year, the manufacturing of plastic bottled water generates more greenhouse gas emissions than 13,000 cars do in the same time. This is as a result of electricity and fuels being used for water extraction, transportation, refrigeration, recycling, disposal and manufacturing. It is also expensive with Australians spending over $500,000,000 a  year on bottled water when the quality of tap water is excellent. One bottle of purchased water can cost $2.50 for 500ml compared to a few cents per litre of tap water.

Working towards the goal of providing students with free good quality chilled drinking water, the Green Team looked for a sustainable solution that was best suited to the school’s needs.

The aquafil™  range of Water Refill Stations and Drinking Fountains offers a wide range of units to choose from. As well as being wheelchair accessible, the units have a range of optional features, such as water meters to track usage, filtered or non-filtered options and display panels that can be used for artwork, advertising or displaying notices and messages.

The wheelchair accessible wall mounted aquafil Fresh unit best suited the schools requirements offering chilled water, hands free automatic bottle refilling with a 20 second shut off timer, soft mouthguard drinking fountain, anti-bacterial protection and a green ticker that records how many bottles have been saved from landfill.

The installation of the aquafil Fresh unit has helped encourage both staff and students to refill their own drink bottles instead of purchasing bottled water whilst also increasing awareness of the negative impact plastic waste has on the environment. It also helps encourage students to drink more water by giving them easy access to an unlimited supply of fresh chilled drinking water which has a positive and healthy impact.

This has been a great result for the Cheltenham Green Team Leadership Group who have reduced the amount of plastic waste produced by the school whilst providing free chilled drinking water creating a WIN WIN situation for the environment and the school community.

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Refill Revolution

Encouraging the water refill

Linda Mathieson

February 5, 2015

We live in a disposable world due to convenience. It is easier to buy, consume and dispose of rather than reuse, refill and recycle even though the later can save us money in the long run and importantly help save our planet which is slowly drowning in plastic waste.

The common thought process seems to be, “What difference can I make, so why bother.”  Well, what a load of rubbish, literally!

If everyone bought one plastic bottle of water daily for a year, that would equate to 365 plastic bottles used and around $730* spent per person annually. Imagine the cost saving and plastic waste reduction if only 100 people changed their habits and chose to reuse, refill and recycle. The result would be $73,000 saved and 36,500 bottles saved from landfill, oceans and waterways.

So the message is simple, everyone can make a difference, you just have to make the right choice and change the plastic convenience mindset.

In America the Refill Revolution has a mission to encourage individuals, civic leaders, event organisers, industry and corporate to Rethink and Reject the disposable mindset by encouraging the use of reusable bags, bottles, cups and food containers at all times.

Their message is simply “Your simple actions will inspire others and help spread this positive movement at work, school, play, and gatherings large and small.”

I think it is time we all made an effort to change bad habits and Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Refresh!

Find out more about America’s Refill Revolution

* Based on a 375ml bottle costing $2

Dehydration may lead to poor productivity

Linda Mathieson

December 16, 2014

Do your employees have easy access to fresh, clean, chilled drinking water?

Dehydration is a common problem and by the time a person feels thirsty the chances are they are already mildly dehydrated. Our bodies are made up of 65% water and a loss of 1.5% of water is enough to become dehydrated.

It is an issue that bosses and HR managers should consider as employee dehydration may affect your business. The effects of this can include changes to mood and energy levels, dizziness, headaches, thirst and fatigue and this may lead to poor productivity. Severe dehydration can lead to blood clots and seizures which may have potentially fatal complications.

Symptoms that indicate dehydration include:

  • Bad bread due to a lack of saliva
  • Muscle cramps as a result of overheating
  • Dry skin as there is not enough water in the blood
  • Sweet food cravings due to a lack of water needed to release some glycogens from your energy banks
  • Headaches due to the fluid sack in your skull not having sufficient water and this may cause the brain to push up against the skull causing headaches

You are probably thinking that it is up to the employee to ensure they remain adequately hydrated,  and it is if drinking water is readily available, but by the time thirst hits, it is too late and could result in a negative impact on your business. We have all suffered from dehydration at some point without even realising it especially when we are very busy so it is important to address the issue of dehydration in the work place.

Employees working in factories, workshops and large facilities where the work can be hot and strenuous are more likely to become dehydrated. Raise the problem of dehydration with you staff and educate them on the benefits of drinking water and eating well.

Tips to help keep your employees hydrated

  • Give them easy access to drinking water throughout the day
  • Supply reusable water bottles
  • Install a water cooler or refill station that is within easy reach
  • Supply fruit as it is healthy and also contains water that can help in keeping dehydration under control

Keeping Kids Hydrated

The importance of keeping kids hydrated especially in the hot summer months

Linda Mathieson

October 29, 2014

It is hard to keep kids hydrated when they are playing outdoors on warm days and it is only when thirst hits that they will look for something to drink.

“Lack of water is always the most severe privation that men can be condemned to endure,” wrote Ernest Shackleton

Water is life and crucial to our everyday existence and during the hot Australian Summer months it is essential that adults and children have easy access to fresh drinking water.

Children are at greater risk of dehydration than adults as they generate more heat but sweat less which can lead to heat exhaustion and even heat stroke on a warm day.

It is imperative that children have access to fresh drinking water throughout the day, especially when playing in the playground in hot weather. Dehydration causes thickening of the blood making the heart work harder risking bad circulation which can then stop the body from cooling itself down efficiently.

By the time a child feels thirsty they are roughly 3% dehydrated so it  is important to encourage them to drink water at regular intervals throughout the day.

A child playing in a hot playground should drink between 250ml to 300ml every 15 to 20 minutes. Having access to clean fresh water at school is essential for every student to ensure they remain healthy, active and mentally alert.

Local Communities Embracing Arts and Culture

Linda Mathieson

August 27, 2014

Local communities are rich in history, culture and arts and local councils are actively involved in supporting cultural and artistic growth within local communities in an effort to improve social cohesion.

Arts and culture can be promoted within communities through cultural activities and events, library and gallery exhibitions and public art displayed in local parks and gardens. This leads to a growing sense of community and pride within local areas.

In 2004 The Australian Expert Group in Industry Studies (AEGIS) carried out a study on ‘Social Impacts of Participation in the Arts and Cultural Activities. This came about due to increasing focus on how community participation in arts and cultural activities intersect with areas of public concern such as education, crime prevention, community identity and development.

The study claims that some of the community benefits of locals participating in arts and cultural programs include:

  • Increased employment rates
  • Reduced levels of crime
  • Public art with a sense of public ownership
  • Improved social cohesion and community
  • Development of a community identity
  • Improved understanding of different cultures

Encouraging the local community to participate and identify with local culture and arts is an ongoing task. Creating visibility and accessibility is key to educating and encouraging people to embrace, experience and identify with the local culture. The end result is a growing sense of community pride and belonging.

Local councils are looking for new, versatile and innovative ways to relay the area’s history and display local and cultural artworks.

The City of Canada Bay has developed a place based approach to Public Arts and Cultural Development by creating meaningful installations and activities in a range of localities such as:

  • Liwi’s Place Mural at Timbrel Park, Five Dock
  • Public art work at Fred Kelly Place, Five dock to celebrate Aeolian Migration
  • Development of the Rainbow Serpent, a sculptural piece on the Bay Run
  • An artistic visual rundown of the area’s history on the panels of a Public aquafil™ Water Refill Station and Drinking Fountain

Arrow Alpha’s aquafil Water Refill Stations and Drinking Fountains are a great tool in promoting Arts and Cultural awareness within local communities.  They have highly visible modular panels that are versatile and have ample space for art work, storytelling, branding and promotional messaging. The aquafil units enable local art, history and culture to be taken outside and put on display for locals who would never normally visit the local library or art
gallery whilst offering them fresh drinking water at the same time.

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Festival Organisers Targeting the Disposable Plastic Bottle

Eliminating Plastic Bottle Waste

Linda Mathieson

June 25, 2014

Billions of disposable plastic  bottles are sold around the world each year and most of them end up in landfill, oceans and waterways. This is a major environmental disaster in itself, not to mention the millions of barrels of oil used in the manufacture of plastic bottles.

It is time to encourage people to make the right choice. Stop buying disposable bottles and carry a reusable bottle. It sounds like, and it is an easy solution but getting the message across it not that easy. With so many options of plastic bottled water readily available to buy, one forgets the negative impact that purchase is having on our environment.

Whilst more and more council, parks, schools, universities and local communities are installing Water Refill Stations and Drinking Fountains within their precincts, there are still areas where free, clean drinking water is not available.

Shopping centres and malls are slow on the uptake to supply free drinking water to customers, probably due to the fast food outlets wanting to continue selling bottled drinks at exorbitant prices and let’s be honest; nobody wants to refill their bottle in the public restrooms.

Fast food outlets should be encouraged to join the fight against plastic waste as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility. It would be a huge step in the right direction for our environment if the large fast food chains started promoting free drinking water whilst removing plastic bottled water from their fridges. To ensure no loss of revenue, they could sell branded stainless steel reusable bottles.

Think of the impact this could have on the environment and how 10 years down the track, it would be considered normal to always carry a reusable water bottle. We would have a new generation totally unaware that drinking water used to be available for sale in plastic disposable bottles.

More and more outdoor event organisers are encouraging the use of reusable stainless steel bottles. This alone has a huge impact on the environment and also means less mess at the events conclusion.

The UK Glastonbury Festival, held in June 2014, is giving away 2000 stainless steel reusable bottles to road crew and band members and will have them for sale for festival goers. The 140,000 ticket holders are being encouraged to buy or bring a reusable bottle to refill at one of the 400 drinking water points scattered around the venue. This is a great initiative and encourages other event organisers to do the same. Read more

In an effort to build a healthy environment and lifestyle, it is time to get rid of the disposable plastic water bottle.

aquafil Water Refill Stations take part in the LA Marathon

10 aquafil Water Refill Stations made their debut in the the 2014 LA Marahon held on Sunday March 9.

The ASICS LA Marathon draws thousands of competitors from across the USA all running to help raise funds for the LA Marathon Official Charity program.

The 46.16km (26.2 m) Stadium to Sea course was used this year and runs from Dodger Stadium to the Pacific Ocean passing through a number of LA’s famous landmarks such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, Rodeo Drive and Santa Monica Pier.

The average race time was 5:26:19 and 12,385 men and 9,119 women completed the race. The men’s winner was Gebo Burka with a time of 2:10:37 and Amane Gobena was the womens winner with a time of 2:27:37.

10 portable aquafil  Pulse Water Refill Stations with Drinking Fountains were attached to water hydrants along the race route to supply spectators with drinking water whilst watching the race. These units also displayed the Drink Tap message making them a valuable tool in promoting the use of refillable water bottles and reducing the number of one use plastic water bottles being sold.

Reduce     Reuse     Recycle    Refresh

San Francisco Wants to Ban Plastic Water Bottles

Laila Kerney

March 7, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – San Francisco moved to restrict the sale of plastic water bottles on city property on Tuesday, the first such action by a major U.S. municipality and the latest in a string of waste-reduction measures that included a ban on plastic grocery bags.

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to begin phasing out the sale and distribution of water in single-use plastic bottles on city-owned or leased land next fall, and to ban future water bottle purchases with city funds.

“There are incredible, enormous environmental costs of plastic water bottles,” said Supervisor David Chiu, who introduced the measure. “It takes 1,000 years for a typical plastic water bottle to biodegrade.”

Numerous cities in California and other states, including Maui County and a number of Hawaiian municipalities, have made it illegal for grocery stores to pack consumer purchases in plastic bags, and a bill recently introduced in the state legislature would extend such bans statewide.

San Francisco appears to be the first to try to steer consumers away from using disposable water bottles, which environmentalists say fill landfills and wash out to sea as trash just as grocery bags do.

Full article at Business Insider Australia

Ban plastic water bottles everywhere!

aquafil Stainless Steel Water Bottles available


NOW AVAILABLE  –  Stainless Steel Water Bottles, the perfect partner for your aquafil Water Bottle Refill Station!

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Refresh for life

  • Promote a Sustainable and Healthy Lifestyle
  • Reduce WASTE
  • Conserve our precious RESOURCES

Customise your aquafil unit to suit your communities needs and promote and spread your message on the display panels which are ideal for advertising and artwork!

The large range of options include:

  • Indoor and outdoor units
  • Filtered or non filtered
  • Chilled
  • Hands free
  • Vandal resistant
  • Wheelchair accessibility
  • Multiple bottle fillers
  • Drinking fountains
  • Dog bowls
  • Green ticker
  • Inbuilt water meters
  • Stainless Steel Water Bottles

View the full aquafil range


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