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Climate Week: City Announces Launch of "Bring It" Campaign to Empower Young New Yorkers to Take Action Against Waste

September 24, 2018

In partnership with NYC-based S'well, every NYC public high school student will receive a S'well reusable water bottle

NEW YORK—To kick off Climate Week NYC and to support the City's Zero Waste by 2030 goal, the Mayor's Office of Sustainability, with support from the Department of Education, announced BRING IT, a multi-channel campaign focused on helping students, and by extension their family and friends, reduce waste through advocacy and action. BRING IT launches with a year-long partnership with reusable bottle company S'well. Through this initiative, more than 320,000 high school students across all five boroughs will receive S'well or S'ip by S'well reusable bottles with the goal of displacing more than 54 million single-use plastic bottles in New York City.

"To reach our goal of sending zero waste to landfills by 2030, we have to upend our whole way of doing things. 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," said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The first year of BRING IT will engage and mobilize NYC public school students and be supported with a wide range of programs and events that foster knowledge around sustainability, cultivate green job mentorship opportunities and encourage students to take action for their schools, city and planet.

"I am so proud to be a part of a program that is creating real impact for New York City, S'well's home," said Sarah Kauss, founder and CEO, S'well. "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."

"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. "We are honored to partner with S'well, our students, and our schools to end single-use plastic waste and transform how we live, work and play in our city."

"We are so proud to be a part of BRING IT, and we know New York City students are ready to be leaders in creating a cleaner and more sustainable City," said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. "I thank our partners at the Mayor's Office of Sustainability and S'well for empowering our students to make a difference, and for making us an important part of the efforts towards the City's goal of zero waste."

To celebrate the launch of the program, MOS, DOE and S'well kicked-off a five-day challenge to inspire and mobilize high school students to 'bring' not only their bottles, but their ideas, passions and unique perspectives to the challenge of creating a sustainable city. To that end, programming also includes the chance for NYC students in elementary to high school to participate in designing S'well's 2019 Earth Day Collection and participate in activities that promote storytelling and sustainable change. The Department of Sanitation is also a supporting agency in this program.

Over the course of the year, S'well will continue to collaborate with DOE and MOS to support a variety of existing sustainability programs. This includes supporting engagement with school sustainability coordinators, teachers and administrators who help develop green initiatives, as well as the Borough Student Advisory Council and Chancellor's Student Advisory Council.

Single-use plastic is a major source of preventable waste in New York City, as well as for our country and globe. Nationally, Americans throw away enough plastic water bottles to fill the Empire State building one and a half times each month. That is plastic that never goes away but breaks down and seeps into our water and ultimately our food, impacting our health. The production of plastic water bottles in the United States also uses 1.5 million barrels of oil a year, which is enough to power 250,000 homes or 100,000 cars all year.

Engaging New Yorkers to adopt waste-reducing behaviors, like bringing reusable water bottles, is critical to achieve the City's Zero Waste goal by 2030 and enables New Yorkers to save money and make healthy drink choices easier. Using national averages, each student with a reusable bottle will be able to displace 167 plastic water bottles from NYC's trash and save about $250 in buying plastic bottles this year.

To learn more, stay up-to-date on BRING IT initiatives and get involved, visit BRINGIT.NYC

"Making real change that lasts requires partnership across government, industry and community, and we are thrilled to see partners like S'well working with City government to empower our next generation of leaders with the knowledge and tools to take action on environmental sustainability," said Darren Bloch, Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Director of the Office of Strategic Partnerships. "We're proud to stand with S'well and our City partners as we embark on this important campaign in support of the City's Zero Waste goals."

"The Mayor's Fund is thrilled to support the launch of BRING IT. We know that it is important to engage young people in the City's efforts to reduce waste and promote environmental sustainability," said Toya Williford, Executive Director of the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City. "The partnership launched today will foster behavior change and encourage high school students to think differently about our collective impact on the environment."

"Young people's partnership and support is vital in creating a sustainable New York," said Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. "Students are the future of our city and programs like BRING IT are helping them reduce waste and empowering them to become active partners in reaching our City's zero waste goals."

"Using reusable water bottles to drink our award-winning NYC tap water will not only lead to a healthier environment, but a healthier you," said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. "The production of plastic water bottles in the United States uses 1.5 million barrels of oil a year, which is enough to power 250,000 homes or 100,000 cars all year. Our tap water is a healthy alternative to sugar-sweetened beverages and at roughly one penny per gallon, it is the best deal in town."

"Conservation and sustainability cannot just be abstract goals, they need to be values we practice in our daily lives," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "This gift is about more than water bottles – it will put a visible reminder in our students' hands and backpacks of what's at stake and that we each can make a difference in saving our planet."

"With humans around the world consuming a staggering one million plastic bottles per minute, we are thrilled to see the launch of the BRING IT campaign, putting NYC youth at the lead for reducing single-use plastic bottles," said Debby Lee Cohen, Executive Director of Cafeteria Culture. "NYC's BRING IT campaign will not only reduce the unacceptable amounts of fossil fuel derived plastics entering our oceans, landfills and incinerators, but can shift entire school communities away from costly and polluting single-use plastic to-go lifestyles and towards a healthy reusable culture. This is really a great way to drive home the concept that one simple local action can have a global impact!"

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