Growing up on the Mississippi River, Chad Pregracke, Living Lands & Waters Founder, experienced first-hand what pollution was doing to our nation’s rivers. Despite being 17 years old with no business experience, Pregracke secured his first sponsorship — $8,400. More than 20 years later, Pregracke’s dream has become a reality. Pregracke, his crew and more than 87,000 volunteers have collected 8.4 million pounds of debris from America’s rivers.
Living Lands & Waters, the world’s leading river cleanup organization, has partnered with Elkay, an American-owned and operated leading manufacturer of plumbing and wood products, to further its environmental missions — working every day to make America a beautiful, sustainable place to live and work.
“Mr. Pregracke is truly an American hero, and his mission perfectly aligns with our sustainability efforts in product development,” said Ted Hamilton, Elkay’s vice president and general manager of Emerging Markets Plumbing Channel. “We both are committed to keeping America a beautiful place to live and work, and to making it easy to do the smart thing.”
Elkay’s ezH2O bottle-filling stations provide fast and convenient access to clean drinking water — making it easy to use a refillable water bottle while on the go. These stations have refilled more than 2.8 billion water bottles and can be found in K-12 schools, college and business campuses as well as airports, parks, sports facilities and fitness centers across the country.
“I can’t tell you how many thousands of plastic bottles I’ve fished out of the river over the years. Some shorelines are 2-feet deep in garbage and it can be like that for miles,” said Pregracke. “Our rivers are a national treasure, and it’s great to be partnering with a company that makes a product right here in the United States that provides an easy way to eliminate waste, helping future generations enjoy our nation’s rivers, just as I have my whole life.”
Since Living Lands & Waters was founded in 1998, it has grown to be the only “industrial-strength” river cleanup organization like it in the world. Spending up to nine months a year living and traveling on a barge, its crew hosts river cleanups, watershed conservation initiatives, workshops, tree plantings and other key conservation efforts across the country.