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Harvest Every Drop published in the Hudson Valley News

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A high school junior at Green Meadow Waldorf School in Chestnut Ridge has created a method of capturing rainwater using discarded plastic water bottles through an irrigation system she developed for vegetable gardens, farms and landscapes.

By using empty water bottles, Madeline Abrams developed a rain capture system that is environmentally-friendly and a unique way to reimagine a use for this otherwise plastic waste.

Abrams’ Harvest Every Drop website ( includes instructional videos to share with communities in the U.S. and around the world.

“My goal for Harvest Every Drop is to reach as many people as possible whether in arid areas or areas of agriculture,” said Abrams, 17, of Upper Saddle River, N.J. “The hope is that by reimagining and repurposing plastic bottles that otherwise would be discarded, anyone almost everywhere has access to create a system. My hope is for the Harvest Every Drop system to provide the opportunity for many people to benefit from it in addition to addressing and drawing attention to how we can help conserve water and reduce plastic waste.”

During the past year, Abrams presented her rain harvesting system virtually through Rotary Clubs to 45 communities in the Tri-State area, California, the Southwest and also to countries in Africa including Uganda, Namibia, Lesotho, Angola and South Africa.

Through those presentations, she’s adapted her invention to the needs of the local area. On one of the calls with a Rotary Club in Lesotho, she learned that porcupines eat plastic bottles, which led to an adjustment in her plans for connecting rain barrels to hold the captured water. Abrams’ rain harvest system was published in an article in an international Rotary magazine that covers the country of Uganda.

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Last month, she gave a Zoom presentation supported by public libraries in New York, New Jersey, Boston, Hartford, Palo Alto and San Francisco making her Earth Day program available to their patrons. The attendees engaged in a discussion following the presentation regarding ways to bring her invention to their communities.

On a recent call with a college professor who leads service trips to El Salvador, Abrams learned that plastic water bottles are regularly burned with other garbage releasing toxic fumes in the process. Her invention helps with water conservation and also helps to reduce the negative environmental impact that can occur from burning plastic.

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Abrams’ environmental efforts recently earned her recognition from Rockland County Executive Ed Day.

Robert Brum is a freelance journalist who writes about the Hudson Valley. Contact him and read his work at

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