Taking the Initiative on Reducing the Use of Plastic Bottles at Shen

By Nathan Violette

Photo taken by Alexa Lounsbury

We’ve all heard it before, “reduce, reuse, and recycle”. Although we’ve all heard this saying, statistically most Americans aren’t doing their part recycling for a cleaner and better tomorrow. A major contributor to the amount of waste we’re dealing with today is the one time use plastic water bottle. In 2013, the average American used 167 of these bottles throughout the year. With that said, only 38 of them on average were recycled. As a whole, Americans used 50 billion bottles and only 23% were recycled! That’s 30 billion bottles that were thrown away and not recycled last year alone! These one-time use plastic bottles can take anywhere from four hundred to a thousand years to fully decompose! Plastic bottles are filling up landfills today faster than ever and are a major threat to the Earth. However, Shenendehowa High School has started doing their part to start reducing the plastic bottle waste.

Shenendehowa has taken action to help eliminate some of the waste we as a society are creating today by installing new filtered water stations around the high school. There are currently two located in the main cafeteria and Shen is looking to install a couple more. They already seem to be getting used regularly. Both stations have logged over two thousand uses and the numbers rise daily! Several people were interviewed about their thoughts regarding the water stations. Mr. Salls, a journalism teacher here in High School East said, “It’s probably one of the best additions to the building since I’ve been here.” Mr. Salls then went on to say, “(I use them) every single day. I probably use them three or four times a day. I always preach hydration to students and it keeps me thinking how much water I’ve been drinking over the course of the day.”

Matt Smith, a junior here in Shen, was interviewed next. This is what he had to say: “They’re easier for people with water bottles to fill and it’s nicer than the regular fountains. I haven’t been able to use them myself, but I have a lot of friends who use them.”

Over time as more filtered water stations are installed, they will have a greater impact on the amount of waste generated by Shenendehowa. Thousands of plastic bottles will not become waste misplaced in landfills. These stations should be installed in other schools or public places to keep the environment even cleaner. Shenendehowa has taken one small step to help the world see a cleaner tomorrow.

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