Plastic Oceans International Launches Rethink.Refill. Education Program that Provides Clean Water and Empowers Youth to Prevent Plastic Pollution

Safe Water, Refilling Stations and Reusable Bottles for Schools Worldwide

5 Schools in the US and Mexico Operating Program: 

3 Mesa, AZ Public Schools and 2 Sian Ka’an, QR Community Schools

January 22, 2020 – MALIBU, Calif., U.S. – Plastic Oceans International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to solving plastic pollution, today announced it has officially launched Rethink.Refill., an education program that empowers youth, prevents plastic pollution and delivers clean drinking water to underserved schools worldwide.

Rethink.Refill. provides water refilling stations and reusable bottles to teach students about plastic waste. They participate in a solution that eliminates single-use plastic bottles from the waste stream. 

Kids at school in Tulum Mexico

Kids in Mexico’s Sian Ka’an area celebrating their reusable water bottles and filtration pots.

The program operates at five schools in the US and Mexico. Rethink.Refill. was recently implemented at three Mesa Public Schools, including Crismon Elementary, Ida Redbird Elementary and Washington Elementary in Mesa, Arizona. Plastic Oceans Mexico implemented the program at Chumpón and Tres Reyes community schools in Sian Ka’an, Quintana Roo. 

“Plastic pollution affects everyone, regardless of socioeconomic standing, and Rethink.Refill. levels the playing field,” said Julie Andersen, Global Executive Director, Plastic Oceans International. “By reaching underserved communities, more youth are better equipped to evaluate their plastic usage, affect change, and improve upon solutions from an early age. Education and data are a powerful combination to empower the next generation.”

Rethink.Refill. offers a quantifiable way to track the amount of plastic pollution students prevent from entering the environment. They can track their school’s success and use it as a tool to encourage other members of their community to join in plastic pollution prevention. 

“Crismon Elementary feels blessed to have received a water refilling station, which we placed in the multipurpose room, where every student has physical education, and breakfast and lunch are served daily,” said Sandi Kuhn, Principal, Crismon Elementary. “We are planning a contest inviting Kindergarten to first-grade students to draw a picture about recycling, and second to sixth-grade students to write about recycling, where the winning entries will receive a reusable water bottle. Our water refilling station complements several school activities where our students help the environment, and reducing plastic pollution is another way the students can give back to make the world a better place.”

Plastic Oceans has donated a water refilling station at Washington Elementary. Photo: Tim Hacker/ Mesa Public Schools

Plastic pollution affects everyone on the planet, so Rethink.Refill. focuses on underserved schools to ensure that more youth are educated and afforded learning opportunities to tackle and solve the problem. The program aims to benefit communities with unsafe water, that experience poverty, and which lack education and resources to address plastic pollution.

Schools can purchase additional reusable bottles for students and faculty at the Rethink.Refill. program wholesale cost to enhance plastic pollution prevention. This is where Rethink.Refill. offers a social entrepreneurship component. Reusable bottles can be sold as a school fundraising tool. Profits can support the school, be donated to Rethink.Refill. or benefit another cause.

Plastic Oceans seeks mission-aligned funding in order to implement Rethink.Refill. Companies have a vested interest to solve plastic waste by supporting youth education and strengthening the local communities where they operate. 

Footprint sponsored the program for two of the three Mesa schools, because the Arizona-based tech company focuses on eliminating plastics through sustainable packaging, particularly from food and the oceans. Tommy Hilfiger sponsored the program in Sian Ka’an to raise awareness about the worsening plastic pollution problem, and its environmental and health impacts.

Plastic Oceans works with schools to tailor and implement Rethink.Refill. Secondary companies maintain the water refilling stations in schools once the program is operating. 

Access photos and captions of Washington Elementary students in Mesa, Arizona at (Credit: Tim Hacker/Mesa Public Schools), and Mexico community schools in Sian Ka’an, Quintana Roo at (Credit: Plastic Oceans International).

Learn more about Rethink.Refill. at

About Plastic Oceans International

Plastic Oceans International is a nonprofit organization dedicated to solving plastic pollution. It aims to change consumer behavior, corporate and public policy, and foster solutions to the global crisis. More than 300 million tons of plastic are produced annually and increasing, yet more than 90% of all plastic is not recycled. At least eight million tons of plastic are dumped into the ocean each year—equal to a garbage truck per minute. Science proves plastic pollutes the air, water and food chain, threatening human health, wildlife and the planet. Plastic Oceans informs, inspires and incites action to affect change with constructive films and digital content, complemented by advocacy, scientific research, education and awareness initiatives. Learn more at and on Facebook @PlasticOceans, Instagram @plasticoceans, Twitter @PlasticOceansUS and YouTube @PlasticOceansInternational


PRESS CONTACT: Lauren Cozzi, Plastic Oceans International 

+1 (202) 853-9608,