Editorial: Cutting down on plastic use is beneficial

Several environmentally friendly options being utilized


Megaphone Staff

Hardly a class passes when a student does not raise a hand and ask, holding up a an empty plastic bottle, “May I fill up my water bottle?”

Although the teacher might groan at the additional interruption to an already distracted class, this simple action does more than keep students’ complaints at bay. It might help save our environment.

Each year about 50 billion plastic water bottles are used around the world, 30 billion of which are in the United States, according to Huffington Post.

Consider the volume of water consumed by the average student in a given day. The average number of water bottles used each day could easily have been doubled by this school alone if not for the bottle filling stations positioned around the school.

Refilling a bottle with tap water has long been propagated as the environmentally-friendly alternative to purchasing more plastic bottles. However, handling the sporadic flow of water from the water fountain has never been an appealing option, and using the bathroom sink is out of the question.

The bottle filling stations attached to many water fountains here allow for easy access to filtered, drinkable water for empty bottles.

Our school offers many opportunities for students to care for their environment. Blue recycling bins sit against classroom walls and hold crumpled papers and empty food containers. iPads and other electronic methods decrease the amount of physical packets used in class. Each of these options are essential to creating a greener school. However, the most impactful and innovative is the inclusion of bottle filling stations.

The production of plastic water bottles is much more involved than the use of tap water. Bottled water is not only packaged and refrigerated, but is also transported, often far distances. By the end of the entire process, it has consumed about 2,000 times more energy than simply using tap water, according to the New York Times.

Much of the process for bottled water is sustained by the use of fossil fuels. Imagine a plastic water bottle filled a quarter way with oil. This is the amount used to produce a single bottle. The school limits the reliance on these environment-destroying containers by including bottle filling stations.

By including these innovative additions, the school also acknowledges students’ efforts to decrease their impact on the environment while also caring for their personal health and maintaining a level of convenience essential to already hectic high school lives. Although the common request to refill an empty water bottle may interrupt class, it proves great benefit to the environment by decreasing the amount of plastic water bottles consumed each day.