No More Bottled Water at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge
Not only are schools and colleges Banning the Bottle, but even wildlife refuges like the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge located in the subtropical barrier island of Sanibel, Florida. They are taking the step towards a sustainable location by banning the sale of single-use plastic water bottles.
J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge won’t leave us high and dry.
Still, the refuge on Sanibel Island will end its sale of bottled water, effective Sept. 29.
That’s National Public Lands Day. Refuge leaders figured it was the perfect occasion to promote hydration without the bottles that don’t get reused or recycled so often.
The move follows a National Park Service decision earlier this year to stop selling bottled water at Grand Canyon National Park. A park official there estimated water bottles contributed about 20 percent of the total waste stream there.
At the Sanibel refuge, which draws more than 700,00 visitors a year, “it’s not about the trash,” said Toni Westland, a supervisory ranger, who noted most visitors don’t litter. “It’s about making a conscious effort to re-use bottles,” she said.
To that end, the refuge has installed three refill stations dispensing filtered water, including one at Tarpon Bay Explorers recreation concession. The “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society foots the bill for all of the refill stations.
Don’t have a bottle? The refuge has drinking fountains. Also, it will sell collapsible bottles bearing a green “kick the bottle” slogan and the refuge name, for $1.25 — a quarter more than it charged for bottled water.
Visitors still may bring in their own bottled water — and get free refills. And, when National Public Lands Day begins at the refuge 9 a.m. sharp, the first 200 arrivals will get the collapsible bottle free.
Dropping bottled water will cost an estimated $8,000 a year in sales at the refuge’s Nature Store, and and more than $13,000 annually at Tarpon Bay Explorers. It’s unclear how much will be recouped through collapsible bottle sales.
“Obviously, there is going to be some financial loss,” said Refuge Manager Paul Tritaik, who added “the decision was based on doing what we thought was right.”