All images courtesy of S’well©

All images courtesy of S’well©

Well that’s S’well

Founder of the reusable stainless steel water bottle company S’well, Sarah Kauss, is determined to make single-use plastic water bottles obsolete.

By Kristen Conti.

Partnered with the NYC’s Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, S’well has launched their Bring It campaign, a movement focused on helping today’s youth fight to reduce waste through advocacy and action.

On September 24, 2018, just in time for Climate Week NYC, S’well began their campaign by gifting S’well Bottles to every public high school student in efforts to #ReduceTheUse. As a result of the campaign, S’well provided over 320,000 reusable bottles to NYC public high school students across all five boroughs. The aim–to help stamp out more than 54 million single-use plastic bottles in NYC.

By the year 2020, S’well hopes to waive 100 million single-use plastic bottles from entering landfills and waterways with the Million Bottle Project, a sustainability program that will be used to promote the minimization of plastic bottle consumption. The Bring It campaign is an extension of the Million Bottle Project, energized by intentions to nurture young people to take action toward the preservation of our environment.   

Americans’ waste production has escalated over the years, contributing to some of the city’s vastest and most irretractable issues, brewing havoc in the environment, marine life, and human health. Americans dispose of enough plastic water bottles to fill the Empire State building one and a half times per month. S’well’s aim is to combat the issue at hand. To do so, they decided to initiate the Bring It campaign, which directly reached the juvenile population. They believe that change begins with youth and therefore gave all NYC public high schoolers the feasibility to go out and make a difference.

Sarah Kauss, founder and CEO of S’well, said, “I am so proud to be a part of a program that is creating real impact for New York City, S’well’s home,” since the brand is based in NYC. “Together, we are developing a platform for change, offering today’s youth and tomorrow’s leaders the knowledge, resources and inspiration to address the global challenges posed by waste and single-use plastic bottles through meaningful actions.”

The Bring It campaign became a crucial factor for the eventual achievement of reaching the City’s Zero Waste goal by 2030. Every person with a reusable water bottle can help displace 167 water bottles from NYC’s trash this past year, while simultaneously saving $250 on bottled water. 

Despite the usual expense of a S’well bottle, marked at $40, Kauss decided that she wanted to put match to this NYC venture regardless of cost. James Barron of the New York Times explained that Kauss wanted to stick something in students’ backpacks “besides the usual kaleidoscopic batch of pencils and notebooks,” by adding “reusable, stainless-steel water bottles.” The involvement of money was not an issue Kauss even contemplated. “We’re not doing it because of the donation amount,” she said. “We’re doing it for the positive benefit, extending into the future.” And though she could not guarantee that these students would go ahead and use the bottles she gifted them, City Hall and the Department of Education would strive to reap the benefits through the Bring It campaign. 

With the help of Mark Chambers, the City Hall official in charge of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, Kauss aims to use S’well to magnify the humanistic relationship to waste. That way, we can dodge clogging waterways, threatening marine life, and piling garbage in landfills. 

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Mr. Chambers calls the campaign “a great opportunity for us to make a strong public statement around why this matters.” Bring It is a method for changing the degree of demand for plastics as well as inflating awareness of the importance of safeguarding our ecosystems. “By displacing single-use plastics, we’re limiting the resources that go into making them,” added Mr. Chambers. He thinks it is about the disconnection between us and the fossil fuel industry and how that is imperative in steering us clear from the persistence of environmental issues we as a nation face.

“This extends our mission,” said Kauss. “I started this company because I wanted people to stop using single-use plastic bottles.” The purpose of the Million Bottle Project and Bring It are simply to show that anyone can ignite change, despite who you may be or where you may come from. And the supreme ripple effect of said change most often persists when we first tackle the issue with our youth population. If people advocate when they are young, they will adopt especial behaviors that will tie into their futures. Watching young kids become environmentally-conscious will undoubtedly set alight to major change.

As Kauss said, in reference to the youngsters of NYC, “You’re the ones we want to make a change in the city.”