Students find alternatives to trendy glass bottles


Photo by Destinee Murray

Junior Keawe Rindlisbacher stays hydrated with water in a plastic container. A recent change in campus policy disallows trendy glass drink containers like Mason jars and Voss bottles.

PUKALANI – Starting a trend is hard. Keeping a trend going is hard. What else is hard? Glass.

Sort of. It’s actually fragile and easily broken.

Using Mason jars and Voss bottles for drinkware is hot among students of Kamehameha Schools Maui; however, this trend was brought to a halt (mostly) when the high school vice-principal, Mr. Leo Delatori, sent out a notice to teachers in September saying that “[students] shouldn’t bring glass containers [to school].”

The school is concerned about glass breaking and people, including students and custodians, getting hurt picking it up, he said. People who try to pick up broken glass incorrectly can be easily cut. In addition, bystanders could be hurt by flying glass when a falling bottle shatters.

“It’s more of a safety matter [than an arbitrary rule],” Mr. Delatori said.

Since 1993, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has reported 26 workplace incidents involving injury and death from broken glass, and, in 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported cuts and contusions, as the fifth leading reason for emergency room visits. They said that the leading causes were broken glass and knives.

Broken glass is especially hard to detect in a swimming pool. An incident there could probably be handled by closing the pool and vacuuming the bottom, according to Lifeguard Margot Carmody, but it could also result in having the pool drained and cleaned. This would be costly in terms of the time and manpower involved in closing the pool and replacing and re-heating the 747,402 gallons of water.

Mason jars’ intended use is food preservation, like bottling homemade jam; however, students started using them to hold water and drinks. They also drink right from the jars.

A Google search returned more than 400,000 results in response to the query: Where did the Mason jar trend start? A scan of the results shows that people are using them for everything from baking mini pies to designing wedding centerpieces.

Brit & Co. dedicates an entire blog post to 100 Clever Ways to Repurpose Mason Jars.

Aside from being stylish and environmentally friendly, one of the benefits of using Mason jars in school is that they have lids that seal tightly to make them easy to pack. New styles also have a handle creating a cross between a mug and a drinking glass.

Voss, an artesian water bottler from Norway, has also found their bottles caught up in the trend.

It was the trending that prompted the change in procedure for the school. Students didn’t bring glass containers to school in such large numbers in the past, Mr. Delatori said.

Students have already sought out plastic versions of their new favorites. Luckily for them, manufacturers are keeping up with the trends, and plastic Mason jars are now available. The new jars also have a hole in the middle of the lid for a straw, making it even easier to drink out of.

Voss already had plastic versions of their bottles, which makes the switch simple for students who want to be both trendy and rule-abiding.