Author: Zack Holmes

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Packaging Matters: Introducing the Fritz Water Vest

Water is vital for life. Unfortunately, in more impoverished areas it’s not always nearby. People often have to walk long distances for access to clean water, and have to collect it using whatever container they can. Large plastic buckets are usually what’s readily available, but they’re not always sterile or clean. Oil jugs are also a common choice, but even once rinsed out aren’t guaranteed to be oil- or chemical-free.

During the return trip home, these containers tend to be carried on the head. Full of water, they’re heavy and difficult to manage, and can eventually cause chronic health issues. Headaches, neck pain, spinal problems, and even foot and ankle issues become common injuries.

Since people often start collecting water when they’re young, health issues can crop up even sooner. Access to proper health care can be difficult, so preventative care is even more important than treatment after the fact.

So what’s the solution? Introducing the Fritz™ Water Vest.

Developed by Dr. Fritz Yambrach, Director and Professor of Packaging at San Jose State University, he began creating the vest nearly a decade ago. When he saw the difficulty people were having with collecting water, he put his experience in the packaging industry to work on the problem.

Designed to help those in disaster zones or impoverished areas, the Fritz™ Water Vest helps its wearer move water safely and hygienically from its source to their home. Created with two layers of nylon material heat-sealed together, it evenly distributes the weight of its contents across the wearer’s shoulders, chest, and back. It takes the strain off their head and neck and also frees up their hands for carrying tools or other objects.

How it Works

Fill it Up at rivers, wells, and taps using the threaded cap and closure at the bottom of each vest.

Put it On by placing it over the head. The weight of the water will be evenly distributed front and back, easing stress and strain on the body.

Walk with Fritz and head back home, hands-free for carrying tools or books.

The vest is considered “appropriate technology,” meaning it’s not hampered by bells and whistles. It’s designed to carry water safely and it does just that.

Tested in Ethiopia, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Burundi, feedback has been extremely positive. Wearers have even created their own uses for the vest, such as carrying grains or legumes. Warm showers are also a possibility once they’re home, thanks to body heat and walking in sunlight.

Key Features

Ergonomic design distributes water weight evenly

Tough nylon material stands up to repeated use, can be readily repaired

Anti-microbial properties inhibit odor and mildew

Threaded cap enables easy filling and dispensing control

Designed for use with water-filtration attachments

Holds 10 liters of water when full, weighing roughly 22 pounds

One-size-fits-all for children and adults

The Packaging Company is proud to be a supporter of the Fritz™ Water Vest. You can learn more about it, and how you can help, right here.

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Water and Healthier Drinks

Water and Nutrition

Getting enough water every day is important for your health. Drinking water can prevent dehydration, a condition that can cause unclear thinking, result in mood change, cause your body to overheat, and lead to constipation and kidney stones.

Water helps your body:

  • Keep a normal temperature
  • Lubricate and cushion joints
  • Protect your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues
  • Get rid of wastes through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements
Sporty woman drinking water after exercise

Your body needs more water when you are:

  • In hot climates
  • More physically active
  • Running a fever
  • Having diarrhea or vomiting

Most of your fluid needs are met through the water and beverages you drink. You can get some fluids through the foods that you eat – especially foods with high water content, such as many fruits and vegetables.

Tips to Drink More Water

  • Carry a water bottle with you and refill it throughout the day.
  • Freeze some freezer-safe water bottles. Take one with you for ice-cold water all day long.
  • Choose water over sugary drinks.
  • Opt for water when eating out. You’ll save money and reduce calories.
  • Serve water during meals.
  • Add a wedge of lime or lemon to your water. This can help improve the taste and help you drink more water than you usually do.
  • Make sure your kids are getting enough water too. Learn more about drinking water in schools and early care and education settings pdf icon[PDF-3.68MB].

Healthier Drink Options

Of course, there are many other beverage options besides water, and many of these can be part of a healthy diet.  Beverages vary in their nutrient and calorie content.

Low or no-calorie beverages
Plain coffee or teas, sparkling water, seltzers, and flavored waters, are low-calorie choices that can be part of a healthy diet.

Asian boy drinking milk

Drinks with calories and important nutrients
Low fat or fat-free milk, fortified milk alternatives such as unflavored soy or almond milks, or 100% fruit or vegetable juice contain important nutrients such as calcium, potassium, or vitamin D. These drinks should be enjoyed within recommended calorie limits.

Other Beverages

Sugary drinks: Regular sodas, fruit drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, sweetened waters, and sweetened coffee and tea beverages, contain calories but little nutritional valuepdf iconexternal icon. Learn how to rethink your drink.

Alcoholic drinks: If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation.

Caffeinated drinks: moderate caffeine consumption (up to 400mg per day) can be a part of a healthy dietpdf iconexternal icon. That’s up to about 3-5 cups of plain coffee.

Drinks with sugar alternatives: Drinks that are labeled “sugar-free” or “diet” likely contain high-intensity sweeteners, such as sucralose, aspartame, or saccharine. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, “replacing added sugars with high-intensity sweeteners may reduce calorie intake in the short-term…yet questions remain about their effectiveness as a long-term weight management strategypdf iconexternal icon.” Learn more about high-intensity

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Choose Water for Healthy Hydration

All living things need water to survive. Along with milk, plain water is the best drink choice for kids. Why? It’s super healthy with zero calories & no added sugar. It good for the body – keeps joints, bones and teeth healthy, helps the blood circulate, and can help kids maintain a healthy weight into adulthood. Being well hydrated improves mood, memory and attention in children . And it’s economical – tap water is much less expensive than sports drinks, sodas and juice.

Here are some tips on how to help your family choose water.

How much water do children need?

At around 6 months, babies can be introduced to water. They only need about 4-8 ounces per day until they are a year old because the rest of their liquids are coming from breastmilk or formula.

To stay well hydrated, children ages 1-3 years need approximately 4 cups of beverages per day, including water or milk. This increases for older kids to around 5 cups for 4-8 year olds, and 7-8 cups for older children.

It should be noted that these amounts vary by individual and may need to be adjusted depending on levels of activity and environmental conditions like heat and humidity.

How to help your family choose water

Water doesn’t have to be boring! There are plenty of ways to entice everyone in the family to drink healthy and stay hydrated throughout the day. Being a good role model yourself is a great way to help make water part of your children’s routine and gets them in the habit of drinking water before they’re thirsty. Here are a few twists to add some fun:

  • Infuse water with lemons, berries, cucumber or mint for some added flavor. This is an easy way to keep the whole family coming back for refills.
  • Keep fruits and vegetables that are high in water content handy – and there are plenty of them. Some of the best vegetables to choose from are cucumber, zucchini, iceberg lettuce, celery, and tomato. Top fruits include watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, blueberries, and grapefruit.
  • Freeze fruit inside ice cubes. It dresses up the drinks at any table, and young children can help fill the trays.
  • Delight kids with special water bottles or cups. Whether it is a personalized sports bottle or a fancy cup with an umbrella or swirly straw, adding a festive touch can go a long way.
  • Make your own popsicles with pureed fruit for an afternoon cool-down. Make it a fun family activity by using small paper cups. Let your kids decorate them before filling or look for popsicle molds in fun shapes and colors.

Drinks to limit

Water and milk are all the drinks kids need. So don’t believe all the hype surrounding many of the other drinks marketed to kids. These usually contain way more sugar than children need in a day and can contribute to poor health. Here’s what to avoid:

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Water use and environmental pressures

Europe’s waters are affected by several pressures, including water pollution, water abstractions, droughts and floods. Major physical modifications to land (e.g.drainage, soil erosion and floodplain changes) and to water bodies (e.g. channelization and barriers) also affect morphology and water flow.

Over the years, the EU has adopted a suite of legislation that aims to protect and manage European waters. This started in 1975 with a directive on surface water quality for drinking water abstraction (75/440/EEC; EEC, 1975) followed by the first Bathing Water Directive, and the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (UWWTD, 91/271/EEC; EC, 1991a) came into force. The UWWTD, BWD and DWD continued to focus on protecting human health, whereas the NiD targeted agriculture as the source of emissions, to protect aquatic resources.

The quality of drinking water and bathing water, and the effectiveness of waste water treatment across the European Union continues to improve, according to the European Environment Agency (EEA) report published 2016. However, pollution from sources like waste water treatment plants, agricultural runoff and storm water overflows, and emerging risks like micro pollutants from personal care products pose challenges to maintaining clean and healthy water for people’s use.

The Water Framework Directive (WFD, 2000/60/EC; EC, 2000) introduced a more holistic approach to ecosystem-based management in 2000. It focuses on the multiple relationships between the many different causes of pollution and their various impacts on water in a river basin. The WFD aims to ensure that human use of water is compatible with the environment’s own needs. The WFD requires the identification of significant pressures from point sources of pollution, diffuse sources of pollution, modifications of flow regimes through abstractions or regulation and morphological alterations, as well as any other pressures. ‘Significant’ means that the pressure contributes to an impact that may result in failing to meet the requirements of Article 4(1) Environmental Objectives (of not having at least good status). In some cases, the pressure from several drivers, e.g. water abstraction from agriculture and households, may in combination be significant. Further dashboards are available below.

Pressures and impacts dashboard

Pressures and impacts dashboard

Use of freshwater resources

Despite the fact that renewable water is abundant in Europe, signals from long-term climate and hydrological assessments, including on population dynamics, indicate that there was 24 % decrease in renewable water resources per capita across Europe between 1960 and 2010, particularly in southern Europe.

The densely populated river basins in different parts of Europe, which correspond to 11 % of the total area of Europe, continue to be hotspots for water stress conditions, and, in the summer of 2014, there were 86 million inhabitants in these areas.

Around 40 % of the inhabitants in the Mediterranean region lived under water stress conditions in the summer of 2014.

Groundwater resources and rivers continue to be affected by overexploitation in many parts of Europe, especially in the western and eastern European basins.

A positive development is that water abstraction decreased by around 7 % between 2002 and 2014.

Agriculture is still the main …

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HOW DOES WATER AFFECT OUR LIVES? A FRESH LOOK AT H2O

Water makes life possible, but it also has the power to wash away everything you’ve worked for in an instant. Here are 5 ways that water impacts the communities we work with — for good and for bad.

Water is life, as the saying goes. We rely on water for our food, our health, our livelihoods, and for fun and leisure. But water can also take away life. And the absence of water can be even worse. Currently, 700 million people live in water-stressed areas. By 2025, this number is expected to grow 1.8 billion — about 25% of the world population.

As Number 6 on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, “Clean Water and Sanitation For All” is currently struggling. If we want to meet this goal by the deadline of 2030, the UN says we’ll need to double our current rate of progress. Only then can we ensure that there’s universal access to safe and affordable drinking water, adequate sanitation and hygiene resources, improved water quality, and restored water-related ecosystems. Here are 5 ways that water use affects our lives — and what we’re doing to help make clean water and sanitation for all a reality.

1. WATER PUTS FOOD ON THE TABLE AND MONEY IN THE BANK

According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, roughly 60–80% of severely food-insecure people rely on agriculture for their livelihoods (and their own nutrition). This includes farming of crops and raising livestock, as well as fishing. In Africa, where over half of Concern’s country programs are located, 95% of crops are rain-fed. This means that water shortages have a compound effect: As we’ve seen in areas like Somalia, just one drought can spell disaster for an entire harvest.

kitchen garden in Burundi

Six-year-old David Minani waters the family kitchen garden in Mutembo, Burundi, while his mom, dad, and four brothers watch on. Photo: Chris de Bode/Panos Pictures

Concern has found solutions for many farming communities. In one Ethiopian community, for example, we provided the expertise and money needed to help build a 10-mile system of irrigation channels and reservoirs, bringing water from a nearby river across 200 acres to 140 farming families. That means bigger harvests to keep families fed — and incomes stable.

When lakes and rivers dry up, families are often forced to walk hundreds of miles to find water for their animals to drink. Or, they may lose their (literal) cash cows. A drought in the Turkana region of Kenya, that has now lasted for nearly 4 years, has meant that pastoralists like Ng’ikario Ekiru, a 37-year–old mother of 6, have gone from herds of 100 down to 5 (Ng’ikario, her family, and the flock all rely on the same source of food — a wild fruit that grows in the bush). Concern can’t refill dry rivers, but we can (and do!) truck water to the families and livestock that need it most.

Woman with goat herd outside her home in Turkana, northern Kenya

Ng’ikario Ekiru with the last of her goat herd outside their home in Turkana, northern Kenya. She

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TOP 5 WAYS TO SAVE WATER IN YOUR HOME

Before we talk about the conservation of water, here are a few facts and figures that’ll help you understand the importance of water conservation.

Why is valuing water key to existing humans? - Bangladesh Post

Shocking, isn’t it!

Conservation of water is the need of the hour as water is a limited natural resource and in order to ensure that it is adequate for all, we need to use water with more care so as to minimize the wastage of water. One can’t stress enough about the importance of saving water. Thus, here are a few quick tips on how to save water or more importantly, how to conserve water that we should all follow unfailingly. These simple tips for water conservation in our daily life can help to effectively combat the problems related to water shortage.

5 Simple Ways To Save Water Daily

1. Take a Shower of 5 Minutes or Less

Love taking super long showers? According to this research, on average, an individual might be wasting 17 gallons of water per shower. That’s right!

If you were to multiply this number with all the members of your family, you’d notice the amount of water wasted is outrageous, to say the least. As such, one of the best methods of conservation of water that you can do right at home, right now, is cutting-down long showers.

It is one of the easiest ways to save water at home. Also, depending on the efficiency of your shower-head, you could be typically using 5 gallons (18 litres) of water per minute. To conserve water, it is ideal to take a shower of 5 minutes or less and this simple change in your daily routine can help save up to 70 litres of water per shower. Plus, you can also replace your shower-head with a low-flow shower-head to save water.

2. Install a Water-saving Toilet Flush System

This is one of the other excellent tips to save water!

One of the largest sources of domestic water wastage is flushing toilets. It is estimated that old toilets use an insane amount of water (5 to 7 gallons) per flush. Thus, by installing the latest water-saving toilet flush system, you can save up to 700 litres of water each year.

This water-saving method is slowly gaining traction, as more and more people are becoming aware of how small steps for water conservation can have an overall greater impact on the environment.

Moreover, by switching to newer models that use a lower volume of water to flush toilets, you not only significantly reduce water consumption but also save money on your water bill, which is a win-win for both – you as well as the environment.

3. Turn Off the Tap While Brushing Your Teeth & Washing Your Hands

How many times have you left the tap running while brushing your teeth or washing your hands & face or while shaving? Too many times to count, correct? Thus, if you are serious about conserving water, then this is one of the most basic water-saving …

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25 ways to save water

Next to air, water is the most important element for the preservation of life. Water is a finite commodity which, if not managed properly, will result in shortages in the near future. Water conservation can go a long way to help alleviate these impending shortages.

1. Check your toilet for leaks.

Put a few drops of food coloring in your toilet tank. If, without flushing, the coloring begins to appear in the bowl., you have a leak that may be wasting more than 100 gallons of water a day.

2. Stop using your toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket

Every cigarette butt or tissue you flush away also flushes away five to seven gallons of water.

3. Put a plastic bottle in your toilet tank

Put an inch or two of sand or pebbles in the bottom of a one liter bottle to weigh it down. Fill the rest of the bottle with water and put it in your toilet tank, safely away from the operating mechanism. In an average home, the bottle may save five gallons or more of water every day without harming the efficiency of the toilet. If your tank is big enough, you may even be able to put in two bottles.

4. Take shorter showers

A typical shower uses five to ten gallons of water a minute. Limit your showers to the time it takes to soap up, wash down and rise off.

5. Install water-saving shower heads or flow restrictors

Your hardware or plumbing supply store stocks inexpensive shower heads or flow restrictors that will cut your shower flow to about three gallons a minute instead of five to ten. They are easy to install, and your showers will still be cleansing and refreshing.

6. Take baths

A partially filled tub uses less water than all but the shortest showers.

7. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth

Before brushing, wet your brush and fill a glass for rinsing your mouth.

8. Turn off the water while shaving

Fill the bottom of the sink with a few inches of warm water in which to rinse your razor.

9. Check faucets and pipes for leaks

Even a small drip can waste 50 or more gallons of water a day.

10. Use your automatic dishwasher for full loads only

Every time you run your dishwasher, you use about 25 gallons of water.

11. Use your automatic washing machine only for full loads only

Your automatic washer uses 30 to 35 gallons per cycle.

12. Don’t let the faucet run while you clean vegetables

Rinse your vegetables instead in a bowl or sink full of clean water.

13. Keep a bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator

This puts a stop to the wasteful practice of running tap water to cool it for drinking.

14. If you wash dishes by hand, don’t leave the water running for rinsing

If you have two sinks, fill one with rinse water. If you have only one sink, first gather …

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5 Types of PFDs (Personal Flotation Devices)

It is the job of the boat owner to ensure that their vessel has all of the legally required equipment on board. All recreational vessels must have at least one Type I, II, or III personal flotation device (life jacket) that is U.S. Coast-Guard-approved and of the proper size for each person on board or be towed.

It is important to know the differences between the types of life jackets and life vests. Each one has its own specific purpose.

There are five types of PFDs (Personal Flotation Device) that I am going to talk about today. I also am going to talk about Idaho-specific rules and regulations for PFDs.

5 Types of Personal Flotation Devices

Type I: Offshore Life Jackets

These vests are designed for rough or remote waters where rescue may take some time. They provide the most buoyancy, are excellent for flotation, and will turn most unconscious persons face up in the water.

Type II: Near-Shore Vests

These are most appropriate for use in calm waters when quick rescue is likely. While very buoyant, these vests may not turn some unconscious wears face up in the water.

Type III: Flotation Aids

These life jackets (vests) are great for calm waters where a rescue if needed, would be quick. These are not recommended for rough waters since they will not turn most unconscious people face up. These are the most common for wakeboarders, skiers, and surfers.

Type IV: Throwable Devices

According to Idaho Boating Laws, any vessels 16 feet in length or longer (except canoes and kayaks of any length) must have one U.S. Coast Guard-approved Type IV PFD on board and readily accessible. Since a Type IV is not designed to be worn, it is neither for rough waters or for anyone who is unable to hold on to it.

Type V: Special-Use Devices

These are often developed and customized specifically for specific sports such as kayaking, wakeboarding, or windsurfing.

To be acceptable, Type V PFDs must be used in accordance with their label.

As you learn how best to keep you and yours safe on your boat, make sure you keep up to date with Idaho boating laws and responsibilities. If you’d like an Idaho Boating Laws and Responsibilities Handbook, swing by Precision Boats. We have one for you!…

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Creating and Storing an Emergency Water Supply

Close up of water containers

During a water-related emergency or outbreak, clean drinking water may not be available. Prepare yourself for an emergency by creating and storing a supply of water that will meet your family’s needs.

Bottled Water

Unopened commercially bottled water is the safest and most reliable source of water in an emergency. If you do not have bottled water, you can make your water safe to drink by following the instructions listed on our Making Water Safe in an Emergency page and using clean containers to collect and store your water.

How Much Emergency Water to Store
  • Store at least 1 gallon of water per person per day for 3 days for drinking and sanitation.
    Try to store a 2-week supply if possible.
  • Consider storing more water than this for hot climates, pregnant women, and persons who are sick.
  • Observe the expiration date for store-bought water.
  • Replace non-store-bought water every 6 months.
  • Store a bottle of unscented liquid household chlorine bleach (label should say it contains between 5% and 9% of sodium hypochlorite) to disinfect your water, if necessary, and to use for general cleaning and sanitizing.
Choosing a Container
Image of different sized water containers

When storing safe water (water that has been treated to make it safe to use), it is best to use food-grade water storage containers, which do not transfer toxic substances into the water they are holding. FDA-approved food-grade storage containers can be found at surplus or camping supply stores. Contact the manufacturer if you are not sure if a storage container is food grade. If you are not able to use a food-grade water storage container, be sure the container you choose:

  • Has a top that can be closed tightly
  • Is made of durable, unbreakable materials (i.e., not glass)
  • If possible, use a container with a narrow neck or opening so water can be poured out.

DO NOT USE containers that previously have been used to hold liquid or solid toxic chemicals (bleach, pesticides, etc.)

Cleaning and Sanitizing a Water Storage Container Before Use
  • Before filling with safe water, use these steps to clean and sanitize water storage containers:
    1. Wash the storage container and rinse completely with water.
    2. Sanitize the container with a solution made by mixing 1 teaspoon of unscented liquid household chlorine bleach in 1 quart of water. Use bleach that contains 5%–9% sodium hypochlorite.
    3. Cover the container tightly and shake it well. Make sure the sanitizing bleach solution touches all inside surfaces of the container.
    4. Wait at least 30 seconds and then pour the sanitizing solution out of the container.
    5. Let the empty sanitized container air-dry before use OR rinse the empty container with safe water (water that has been treated).
    6. Pour clean water into the sanitized container and cover with a tight lid.
Removing and Storing Water
  • Tips for removing safe water out of the container:
    • If using a scoop or other device, use a clean one each time you remove safe water from the storage container to help avoid contaminating the water.
    • Before scooping out
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How people are resolving to reduce water scarcity

Seventy percent of the surface of our planet is covered by water, so it’s easy to assume there’s plenty of it to drink, cook, and bathe with. It’s time we all threw that assumption out with, well, the bathwater.

Less than three percent of the water covering the earth is freshwater, and the bulk of that freshwater isn’t accessible. This is one of the reasons why humans in many parts of the world rely on extremely limited water resources.

Though we all rely on water for our survival, we also contribute to the rise of water scarcity. The vitality of rivers, lakes, and other bodies of freshwater is threatened by a variety of causes, many of which are the result of human activity. These include pollution, climate change, industrial agricultural practices, unsustainable energy production, and population growth. The end result is that more and more people around the globe face water shortages.

While water scarcity is predominantly a man-made creation, we also have the capacity to develop solutions to mitigate the rise of water scarcity. Read on to learn more about water scarcity plus some of the exciting ways people are reducing it.

Water scarcity by the numbers

What is water scarcity?

At its simplest, the term water scarcity refers to insufficient access to the water resources necessary to sustain a region. The term applies to both human activities such as drinking and cooking, as well as the healthy functioning of an ecosystem. Water scarcity can range from a challenging but manageable water shortage such as in the Greater London area or the High Plains in the U.S. to a full-blown water crisis such as in Flint, MI or Durban, South Africa.

When it comes to the human experience of water scarcity, the term is divided into two categories: physical water scarcity and economic water scarcity. As you may expect, physical water scarcity refers to a lack of available water resources relative to its demand. Economic water scarcity refers to limited water access resulting from insufficient financial resources to access, store, and/or distribute water to homes, business, and so on.

If you grew up with unlimited access to water resources, it’s easy feel less connected to the gravity of water scarcity. However, water scarcity affects every continent at an increasingly alarming rate.

What causes water scarcity

According to a 2016 study, at least two-thirds of the world’s population—a tremendous number of four billion people—already live with severe water scarcity for at least one month each year. In addition to this, 500 million people live in regions where humans consume water at twice the rate it is replenished by rain, particularly in China and India. For those regions that fall into this category, severe water shortages are all but guaranteed in the future.

The situation is so serious that the World Economic Forum now ranks the water crises as one of the top biggest risks to humanity and human economics. The people most vulnerable to water scarcity today live in India and China, while the problem also …