Partnership tackles major waste reduction and sustainability at state parks

by | Dec 6, 2022


  • The Florida State Parks Foundation and Duke Energy Florida are collaborating to decrease single-use water bottles
  • More than 120 water bottle refilling stations have been installed at Florida state parks

The Florida State Parks Foundation and Duke Energy Florida are partnering to fund the installation of 121 water bottle refilling stations at 85 Florida state parks.

According to a Tuesday news release, the $200,000 project seeks broaden sustainability and resilience at state parks by decreasing single-use water bottles thrown away at landfills and reduce plastic litter along trails, at campsites, on beaches and in Florida’s waterways.

Additionally, each station will track the number of water bottles saved so visitors can measure their waste reduction impact.

The pair noted that the stations are now in service throughout state parks from Destin to the Florida Keys and can be found at campgrounds, trailheads, visitor centers, restrooms and other locations at state parks.

“We are grateful to Duke Energy Florida and for this collaboration that supports environmentally conscious practices at our treasured state parks and cultivates these values among visitors,” said Tammy Gustafson, president of the Florida State Parks Foundation. “This is truly a collective approach between state parks and visitors to create a greener future that preserves and protects Florida’s precious natural resources.”

Duke Energy Florida committed a $175,000 grant to help with purchase and installation. The remaining $25,000 was funded through revenue generated by the foundation’s “Explore Our State Parks” specialty license plate that debuted earlier this year.

In 2021, the Florida Legislature passed a law creating a Florida State Parks specialty license plate. Each plate costs $33, $25 of which directly benefits the Florida State Parks Foundation’s efforts to advance greener practices at state parks.

Duke Energy Florida added that the sustainability collaboration is part of the first phase of a larger initiative focused on making Florida’s state parks greener.

The foundation says it will announce more detailed plans for this initiative early next year.

“We are committed to environmentally sustainable practices and are proud to contribute to this project that diverts and reduces waste, helping preserve state parks for continued enjoyment,” said Sharon Arroyo, Duke Energy Florida vice president of government and community relations. “Our investment in efforts that support sustainability in action help to create cleaner and more resilient communities across Florida.”

In 2021, Florida’s state parks and trails hosted more than 31 million visitors. Along with significant visitation, state parks also focus on preserving Florida’s natural, cultural and historical resources.

“We appreciate the efforts of the Florida State Parks Foundation and Duke Energy Florida to help make state parks greener,” said Chuck Hatcher, director of Florida State Parks. “Our visitors will be encouraged to use these bottle filling stations to reduce waste and help us protect our natural resources from single-use plastics.”


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