TapIt helps fulfill multiple objectives, according to Angela Jones, director of health and wellness initiatives at YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City.
“TapIt is a good way to give people greater access to water, which ultimately encourages people to drink more water. And from an environmental standpoint, this will reduce reliance on plastic bottles,” Jones said.
According to the website for the program, founded in 2008, thousands of plastic bottles take up space in already overfilled dump sites, while expensive recycling programs do little to alleviate the pollution.
TapIt distributes free reusable water bottles at various coffee shops, restaurants, recreational centers, parks and local businesses, providing free refill stations for participants.
While convenience is a big factor that influences water consumption, Jones added that the bombardment of advertising often persuades people to choose sugary sodas and sports drinks over water.
“Millions of dollars have been spent on marketing, and there’s a level of conditioning involved in that process, so people have established bad habits,” she said. “We want to promote water in our own way to get people thinking about those types of choices.”
Reeling in business locations proved easier feat than Jones had expected.
“Everyone is really excited about TapIt; we’ve been pleasantly surprised,” she said.
More than 20 local businesses already are on board with TapIt. Some popular metro locations include:
» Elemental Coffee Roasters, 815 N. Hudson;
» Bricktown Brewery, 1 N. Oklahoma;
» Earl’s Rib Palace, several metro locations;
» Put a Cork in it Winery, 115 E. California; and
» Cuppies and Joe, 727 N.W. 23rd.
In addition, 12 YMCA locations in Oklahoma City serve as refill stations.
“Oklahoma’s YMCA is the only organization in the nationwide TapIt network that’s not a restaurant or cafe,” said Jones. Participants do not have to be YMCA members to receive their refillable bottles.
For more information, visit ymcaokc.org/HealthyLiving/ HealthWellness.
U.S. of agua
Taking a road trip this summer? You can find participating businesses in the TapIt network around the U.S. by downloading the free TapIt iPhone application, or visiting tapitwater.com, where businesses are listed by state and city. Bottles can be refilled at any participating location without prior purchase.