17 Aug 2021

CHS Alumnus Wins President’s Environmental Youth Award

Alumnus Steffek Rainey ’21 was awarded the President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) for his design of the Envi Bottle– reusable water bottle to reduce ocean-bound plastic waste. Rainey’s patent-pending design includes five reusable products inside one easy-to-use device. A plastic storage cup that locks onto the bottom of the bottle includes a reusable fork, spoon, knife, straw, and foldable nylon bag. 

He is one of 32 students across the United States who received this award. The PEYA recognizes outstanding community-level environmental projects by students in K-12 that promote awareness of our nation’s natural resources and encourages positive community involvement.

“I am incredibly honored to receive this award and represent the CHS community and Baton Rouge as a whole,” said Rainey. “It’s exciting to be recognized for my hard work and dedication as I try to put an end to plastic pollution. I believe that it is our duty to protect and preserve God’s creation and I am a believer that anyone can make incredible, impactful change just through simple actions and ideas. I hope that one day I can inspire others to make a difference as well. Change will not happen over night, but it has to start somewhere.”

Rainey’s design idea stemmed from the fact that 40% of all plastic waste in the Gulf of Mexico stems from the Mississippi River. Rainey designed this versatile water bottle in an effort to reduce the amount of single-use plastics that enter our waterways and, eventually, our Gulf. Each person who uses Rainey’s bottle could save an estimated 55 pounds of plastic waste from being disposed of each year. Rainey has worked with state legislators, the Louisiana Department of Education, the Louisiana Governor Policy Advisor, and a large food company to advocate for steps to better our environment and increase its sustainability. Louisiana State University has expressed interest in purchasing Rainey’s design for its incoming students– a move that could save 426,250 pounds of plastic from polluting the environment annually.

Catholic High School is extremely proud of Rainey’s advocacy for the protection of the environment. If you’d like to support Steffek’s efforts and reserve an Envi bottle of your own, please visit his website at www.chooseenvi.com.