When you enter a crowded room, it is inevitable that you will find at least three people with a single-use plastic water bottle that is guaranteed to reach no other fate than becoming waste. I know this because I have witnessed it in my own school. Back in December, I was scanning my classroom and I counted 11 people that had new plastic water bottles on their desks, meaning that more than one-third of the class was using a product that was contributing to several environmental concerns. With this observation, I continued to scan each of my classrooms daily, and what I realized was that the same kids were bringing plastic water bottles every day, and not only that, but the kids who had purchased a reusable water bottle never had plastics. In every one of my classes, at least one-third of the people were consistently bringing in plastic water bottles. I support the Cape Plastic Bottle Ban initiative by Sustainable Practices because there is absolutely no excuse for this waste when it could be eliminated by adopting the habit of filling up a reusable bottle.
I am a high school senior currently in the process of attending college tours and information sessions, but besides financial aid, campus feel, and student life, I have been paying attention to the spread of refreshments provided. Schools love to try and wow their prospective students by offering refreshments, but what is devastating is the amount of plastic used at these events. At one of my tours in Massachusetts, I noticed an entire table full of plastic water bottles, and by the end of the session, the table was empty. By my estimate, that would mean 200 single-use water bottles were taken and probably ended up in a waste bin on campus. The solution to this seems simple: why not recycle them? What I have noticed while on my tours or just out in public is that recycling bins are almost never offered, and when they are, about half the time it is actually one bag that has a labeled lid to trick people into thinking they are recycling. Even more deceiving is the recycling process itself. Recycling is not emissions free, meaning that harmful toxins are released into the atmosphere in the process.
These reasons, along with several others, are why we need a single-use plastic water bottle ban. The halting of environmental harm and the avoidance of larger health issues can be solved with the simple practice of filling up a reusable water bottle in place of buying and throwing out plastic ones. Each small step we take now will create a better future for those whose lives would be at risk if this issue is not addressed. We need your vote at the upcoming spring town meetings across the Cape. For more information, see Sustainable Practices on the web.
Nicole M. Valentine