Sophomore brings Pathwater to New Trier

The introduction of Pathwater at New Trier is the result of student activism

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Sofia Ali

George, who has been passionate about the environment from a young age, was searching for a way to positively impact the school community.

Since New Trier cafeterias started selling Pathwater bottles this school year, they’ve been a hit among students, selling over 550 bottles on both campuses combined. Now, one cannot travel down school hallways without seeing students sporting the sturdy white bottles in backpacks.

I chose Pathwater bottles because I liked their mission and plastic bottles are a big polluter in the environment. I thought school would be a great place to implement the bottles.”

— Lindsey George

According to Pathwater’s website, Pathwater bottles are made of aluminum, which allows for the bottles to be “infinitely refillable” and have “100% endless recyclability”. The idea behind Pathwater is to help consumers stop using single-use plastic bottles by offering an eco-friendly, reusable alternative. 

Sophomore Lindsey George helped bring Pathwater bottles to New Trier by partnering with Plastic Tides, an environmental nonprofit organization. 

“I paired up with a college mentor, and I got to work on a project for a school year that would help benefit my community environmentally,” said George. “I chose Pathwater bottles because I liked their mission and plastic bottles are a big polluter in the environment. I thought school would be a great place to implement the bottles.”

George has been passionate about the environment from a young age, and worked on mini-projects in her community since elementary school. She also is part of the Environmental Club at New Trier.

“In third grade, we did a project with sea turtles, and that’s when I got started on [environmentalism],” said George. “In fifth grade, I got my school to switch to compostable silverware and straws. Then, this year, it’s been a bigger step with the plastic bottles.”

Northfield campus Principal Paul Waechtler worked with George to bring Pathwater to New Trier.

“I think it’s great for students to learn how to get something accomplished at school,” said Waechtler. “It might be complicated, but if you’re persistent, you have a pretty good chance of making a change.”

Waechtler says the school adopted Pathwater bottles for both environmental and health benefits. According to George, New Trier sold 16,000 single-use water bottles in the 2019-2020 school year alone.

Waechtler said, “[Pathwater’s been] a way for New Trier to show its commitment to doing our part to combat climate change and be good environmental stewards for the community. It’s also a healthy product for kids to drink… so good for student well-being.”

Senior Rockwell Shapiro has used his Pathwater bottle for over three weeks. 

Shapiro said, “I picked it up and was like ‘Wow, this is a thick aluminum can.’ I thought I could reuse it so many times.”

Shapiro also found the design of the bottle appealing.

“I like that there’s an aesthetic to it, a very sleek, modern, and techie look,” said Shapiro.

George enjoys seeing the impact that Pathwater has created on the student body.

“I’ll walk down the hallway and see people with Pathwater bottles in their backpacks or drinking from them in classrooms,” said George. “It’s really cool to see it in action.”