Year-long relationship launched with $15,000 donation at river cleanup event with employees
Oak Brook, Illinois – Elkay employees have done a river cleanup with Living Lands & Waters (LL&W) once a year since 2012, but it wasn't until LL&W founder Chad Pregracke saw one of the company’s bottle filling stations in an airport that the light bulb went off.
Named “Hero of the Year” by CNN a couple years ago, Pregracke founded Living Lands & Waters in 1998 at the age of 23. Since the project's inception, Pregracke, his crew, and more than 87,000 volunteers have collected 8.4 million pounds of debris from U.S. rivers.
“Pregracke truly is an American hero,” said Ted Hamilton, Elkay's vice president and general manager of Emerging Markets Plumbing Channel. “We are proud to have him as a brand ambassador for our ezH2O bottle filling stations.”
Pregracke travels across the country throughout the year, speaking to organizations such as colleges, hospitals and companies with large campuses who have an interest in protecting our nation's waterways. Many of these same organizations could benefit from a bottle filling station, and Pregracke is pleased to serve as a spokesperson, making connections for his audiences between LL&W's mission and the role that Elkay's bottle fillers can play in reducing plastic bottle waste. Pregracke has also agreed to attend some of Elkay's upcoming events and trade shows over the next 12 months to help tell this story.
In addition to the agreement with Pregracke and the donation to LL&W, the company will also donate a bottle filling station for use on LL&W's barge used for river cleanups throughout the year. The donation was made at a river cleanup with employees from Elkay's plant in Savanna, Illinois, where the bottle filling stations are made.
Elkay introduced the bottle filling station in 2010 in response to consumer demand for drinking water and the growing concern regarding the environmental impact of bottled water.
“Elkay has long provided water through our drinking fountains,” Hamilton said. “However, drinking fountains aren't designed for filling water bottles. Our ezH2O product was developed specifically to address that need and can now be found on college and business campuses as well as in airports, parks and sports facilities across the country.”
Elkay's partnership announcement with LL&W coincides with the launch of new ezH2O models that offer additional environmental benefits.
“Operators can power down the refrigeration on the unit so water is dispensed, but the refrigeration portion of the unit will be powered off, which allows buildings to cut the energy usage of the ezH2O product dramatically,” Hamilton said.
Headquartered in East Moline, Illinois, Living Lands & Waters is a 501 (c)(3) environmental organization that was established by Chad Pregracke in 1998. Since the organization was founded, Living Lands & Waters has grown to be the only “industrial strength” river cleanup organization like it in the world. Spending up to 9 months a year living and traveling on a barge, the Living Lands & Waters' crew hosts river cleanups, watershed conservation initiatives, workshops, tree plantings and other key conservation efforts.