Water Chronicles, Chapter 3

As we continue to plug away in our effort to remove bottled water from our headquarters buildings, the team at Timberland’s distribution center in Ontario, CA kindly and quietly shared the following experience they had in executing a similar effort … two years ago.  A note from center maintenance supervisor Willie Williams to operations manager Dwayne Davis reads:

 I received a flyer advertising water coolers that didn’t require water bottles.  From a maintenance standpoint I was intrigued because the coolers with bottles require periodic cleaning of the inside of the cooler and this one did not, because of an internal activated oxygen system.  Better yet, the company offered to match or beat the price per gallon we were paying for the bottled water.  At that point I made a list of Pros and Cons:

Pros:
  1. No more pallets of water bottles by the coolers in the distribution center, which would give us more floor space and look much tidier.
  2. We wouldn’t lose production time from workers of each department transporting bottles.
  3. No more cleaning the coolers to prevent any algae buildup. (My favorite!)
  4. We wouldn’t worry about running out of water if our consumption increased during a hot spell.
  5. I always hated the idea of a truck that gets about 4 MPG delivering all those 5 gallon bottles of filtered water when the technology was here to just filter it ourselves.

Cons:
I couldn’t think of any … so we went ahead and switched.

A couple of Earthkeeping lessons from this story:

  • There’s no shortage of good ideas and actions happening all around us, every day (even within our own company!) – all we have to do is listen and learn to make our own efforts that much better.
  • Saving the planet doesn’t have to be the sole motivation for making a positive environmental change – and often isn’t.  As Willie points out, switching to bottle-less water coolers didn’t cost more, saved both floor space and production time … and also took a few CO2-emitting trucks off the road.

Thanks to Willie, Dwayne and our Ontario crew for sharing their success story … and a few happy photos of their bottle-less water coolers:

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