Don't run dry this Springtime or you'll be running behind


How much water¹ have you consumed today?


And how much of that was through drinking from disposable plastic bottles?


Consider the following:


1. Globally, a million plastic bottles are sold every minute2 – in the US, less than 30% of HDPE natural bottles were recycled in 20183, and 'more than 8 million tons of the nearly 300 million tons of plastic produced every year … are dumped in the world's oceans'4, which by 2050, is set to contain more plastic by mass than aquatic life5. 


2. The human brain is 77 to 78% water, and dehydration at a level of less than 2%6 of body mass loss (which constitutes severe dehydration) affects the ability to make decisions.


The question then for the team leader, facility manager, or anybody responsible for the safety and well-being of those inside their workplace:


How can I make sure that the people I'm responsible for are properly hydrated?


And if I can improve the environmental impact that the team and organization make, and make everyone’s lives a bit easier; win, win, win.


There are a number of solutions to consider ranging from building company spirit by providing metal company water bottles, to conveniently placing filtered water bottle filling stations throughout the facility. And based on research the most effective, most efficient, most environmentally friendly method may be a water bottle filling station.


Here are the advantages of a water bottle filling station:


Easy and convenient                  


Hydration in the workplace ought to be just as easy as hydration at home. You could prepare your water bottles at home, before work, but two or three liters of water are heavy, especially if you have to heave them up and down flights of stairs or a crowded commute. Not to mention, if you happen to be in a hurry and forget to grab one; and lunchtime is three or four hours away, and by that point the initial effects of dehydration may have already begun.




Workers can find all the water they need, at a location convenient to their desk or station. A long trip into the canteen, or even the local supermarket, could be avoided – ensuring workers can make full use of their allocated lunchtime or scheduled breaks rather than hurrying back and forth between kiosks, looking for a place to purchase water bottles. And this one even has a pet station.


Environmental: reduce – to zero – your use of disposable plastic bottles


A further benefit of the filling station is the need to reduce the use of disposable plastic bottles. Consider the following statistics:


1. According to the Container Recycling Institute, 100.7 billion plastic beverage bottles were sold in the US in 2014, 315 bottles per person.' [Harvard School of Public Health]
2. In 2018, of all plastic bottles purchased in the US, 29.3% were recycled. [EPA]

3. A study conducted at Harvard in 2008 monitored students who drank from steel bottles and then polycarbonate bottles the following week; 'urine samples showed a 69 percent increase in [Bisphenol A7] levels during the polycarbonate week'8.' [Harvard School of Public Health]
4. 'In 2018, landfills received 27 million tons of plastic' [EPA]

5. 'More than 8 million of the nearly 300 million tons of plastic produced every year .. are dumped in the world's oceans.' [Harvard School of Public Health]

6. 'Producing one ton of plastic generates 2.5 tons of carbon dioxide' [Material Economics, 2018; reported by Surfers Against Sewage]




Perhaps most importantly, and with summer’s rising temperatures around the corner, remember to stay hydrated. According to the CDC, 'when working in the heat, drink 1 cup (8 ounces) every 15 – 20 minutes.' And remember, if you see any of the above signs of dehydration in your friends at work; make sure they hydrate immediately. Here's how to tell if you or someone else is dehydrated:


 Signs of dehydration:


  •             fatigue
  •             confusion
  •             dry skin and lips
  •             lightheadedness
  •             dizziness
  •             fainting
  •             sudden drop in blood pressure after standing up
  •             headaches
  •             muscle cramps
  •             palpitations


The easiest way to monitor your level of hydration is with the urine test; [color scale].


The effects of dehydration can be severe, this is highly important to consider for those operating dangerous machinery – or even working in facilities where they may be in close proximity. An experienced driver, with good knowledge of all safety measures, an expert handling of the controls, could in fact place themselves and all others they work with in serious danger, if they happen to lose track of their water bottle or opt to forego a trip to the bottle filling station on a day when they are running behind.


Regardless of which path you take, this is an opportunity to bring the team together for how you as an organization can make an impact on their prolonged health, work life and bettering the environment.


1) The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in this report, states that between 2005-10, US adults consumed, on average, 39 ounces of water per day; this is equivalent to 1.11 liters.


The US National Academy of Medicine states that 'women who appear to be adequately hydrated consume an average of approximately 2.7 liters (91 ounces) … each day, and men average approximately 3.7 liters (125 ounces) daily?'     




3) EPA,


4) Harvard School of Public Health,


5) World Economic Forum,


6) A 1988 study of soldiers conducted referenced here in the British Journal of Nutrition (Cambridge),


7) Bisphenol A is an environmental estrogen


8) Harvard School of Public Health,


9) According to Jones and Taylor of McGovern Medical School and University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston,


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