Approximately 38 million plastic water bottles go to landfills each year in America alone. Landfills in the United States are filled with more than 2 million tons of water bottles and it takes each of those bottles up to 1,000 years to decompose. While they are decomposing, the water bottles leak harmful chemicals into the environment. Without even thinking about it, people use water bottles in their everyday lives and most do not even realize what it is doing to the environment when they do so. So the big question is: what can you do?
Mrs. Sullivan, one of the Biology teachers at Quakertown High School, is in charge of Environment Club and encourages thinking about sustainability. “The Environmental Science Club is composed of a group of students who are passionate about increasing the sustainability and greenness of the high school. They take initiative in completing projects that will make the high school a better place to be, in terms of releasing less waste into the landfill, using less energy, and being greener overall,” she said. Decreasing plastic use is something that can positively affect the environment more than someone would think.
Amanda Burkey, one of the students who helps run the club, spoke about one of the things that they are doing to help. “We try to better our community by making the community more eco friendly and environmentally sustainable, and that’s something we try to implement in our school and around town. And part of that was the water bottle refill stations, that help reduce the amount of single use plastics that we use in the school everyday,” she explained.
Mrs. Sullivan helped explain what these stations are. “We decided to reduce the number of water bottles that go into the trash by offering a water bottle refill station and encouraging students to bring refillable water bottles. Those refillable water bottles can be used over and over and over again and filled with fresh, refrigerated, filtered water from the water bottle refill stations, reducing the number of single use plastics and single use bottles that we use,” she said.
The water refill stations were a simple, yet extraordinary idea to get students into helping the environment. And while many have begun to use them everyday, there are still some students that were unaware of their existence within the school. “We are working this year to advertise these water bottle refill stations and to encourage students to use them as much as possible,” Mrs. Sullivan said. There are currently two water refill stations in our school; one located at the water fountain by the Senior locker pods and one across from the Freshman locker pods by the bathroom.
“We want to encourage students to use them to reduce the amount of plastic we’re throwing into the landfill, because there was about 3000 water bottles collected from us, in a weeks time here at the highschool alone,” said Burkey. This is a great and easy way to get involved if you are interested in helping make our world a better place. And as little as it may seem, simply using a refillable water bottle can make a big difference.
For more information on how you can help, visit: https://hs.qcsd.org/clubs/environmental_science_club