After viewing the short film “The Story of Bottled Water,” members of the Mount de Sales Academy environmental club were stunned.
The film highlights the vast amount of plastic waste associated with bottled water in the U.S. Afterward, a group of 11 students organized to see what they could do about the issue, and they decided they would start at their own school.
“We watched the video and saw how wasteful America is and how much of that waste is related to bottled water. We were shocked,” senior Elizabeth Pearson said.
The “ban the bottle” group developed a presentation for school administrators, who asked them to offer it to the entire student body. Afterward, the students were on board to end the use of bottled water on campus.
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The school installed drink refill stations at its water fountains in the new middle school building and has ordered four to be installed in the high school. There are about 600 students in the two schools.
Awareness in the school changed after the presentations, said Caroline Pearson, Elizabeth’s twin sister and a member of the group.
“Since we’ve given the speeches, a lot more people have been using the reusable water bottles,” Caroline said.
“There has been a lot of positive peer pressure,” Elizabeth added.
The group purchased 300 reusable water bottles emblazoned with the Mount de Sales logo and “I pledge to reduce bottled water waste.” The group is selling them to students at cost for $5, or the price of about five bottles of water, Caroline noted.
Seniors even have their own special edition, which is selling well.
The group also got the vending machine vendor to offer juices in place of bottled water in the campus machines.
The changes make a lot of sense, Elizabeth said, because tap water is free to the students and very low cost to the school.
There is an added bonus in Macon, Elizabeth noted, with a 2009 award to the Macon Water Authority for the best tasting tap water in the country.
“It seems ridiculous not to take advantage of this amazing resource,” she said.
To contact writer Mark Vanderhoek, call 744-4331.