JUST, an eco-friendly bottled water company founded in 2015 by Jaden and Will Smith, has promised to provide water aid to the children of Flint, Michigan, for the foreseeable future. The company, which bottles water in biodegradable, environmentally-friendly, plant-derived paper and sugarcane bottles, has already donated over 9,000 bottles of water to Flint since the community’s water crisis began, and is now vowing to donate more water to Flint schools until the city’s lead-laden tap water is safely drinkable again.
As Huffington Post reports, Jaden Smith’s JUST CEO, Ira Laufer, has publicly claimed that the donations are necessary to help the children of Flint. Laufer reportedly came to the realization after learning about the impact the city’s polluted, undrinkable tap water has had on local public schools.
“This just makes sense for us to do. After reading more about [Flint’s] challenges and the mayor objecting to pulling bottled water from the schools, we thought, ‘Let’s help these kids.'”
When they founded JUST in 2014, Jaden Smith and his blockbuster father intended to make a positive impact on both the environment and local communities. First and foremost, JUST revolutionized the ecological impact caused by millions of empty plastic water bottles by turning to eco-friendly paper and sugar cane as an alternative source of packaging. In all, JUST water bottles boast a 74 percent reduction in carbon emissions when compared to traditional disposable plastic water bottles.
In addition to utilizing a green alternative to plastic containers, JUST also uses only domestically sourced spring water rather than purified tap water, which actually saves water in the long run. Based in Glen Falls, New York, Jaden Smith’s water company has also invested in the city for the long-term.
In 2014, the water situation in Flint dominated the national headlines when news broke that the Michigan city’s dilapidated infrastructure, including badly corroded water pipes, was causing tap water to become dangerously polluted with lead. In turn, the lead levels were poisoning the children and citizens of the city. According to the EPA, Flint tap water contained as much as 39.7 ppb of lead, over double the federal limit of 15 parts per billion.
Since the discovery of the Flint water crisis, many corporations and private citizens have stepped in to provide residents with access to safe, drinkable water. Now, Jaden Smith and JUST are moving forward to do their part to alleviate the inconvenience and suffering of affected Flint school children, who are attending classes in schools where the water is still unsafe to drink.
Currently, Flint citizens have to pick up water bottles from distribution centers around the city in order access lead-free water. Public schools have also been forced to depend on bottled water, much of it donated by philanthropists such as Will and Jaden Smith. According to the CEO of JUST, the company will be donating water regularly until repairs to Flint’s water pipes are completed and lead levels are below EPA limits. The task of completing the replacement of Flint water pipes is expected to be accomplished by 2020.