Palo Alto High School Supports Water Bottle Filling Station to Reduce Plastic Water Bottle Use
The growing problem of plastic water bottle use is one that is receiving attention all over the country. As much as 80 percent of all plastic water bottles in the United States become garbage – and this is a problem for the environment because the average plastic bottle takes 1,000 years or even longer to biodegrade. What's more, if incinerated, these bottles emit dangerous fumes that are toxic to humans, animals, and the environment.
In May, Gunn High School in Palo Alto, California implemented a creative way to cut back on the use of plastic water bottles. The school is using a water bottle filling station, which made its debut on Earth Day and is poised to become a truly viable solution to this environmental problem. Inspired by the documentary “Tapped,” two Gunn students started a petition in 2014 to ban the use of plastic water bottles and implement a more sustainable method of keeping students adequately hydrated.
The efforts of the students were met with strong support from their classmates and faculty, with the school's librarian pitching in to help obtain funding and garner community support.
More Reasons to Say No to Plastic Water Bottles
The students at Gunn High School are definitely on to something — there are a plethora of hazards associated with plastic water bottle use. In addition to the devastating environmental impact these bottles have on our planet, they're also expensive. Eight glasses of water each day would cost $1,400 a year if a person opted for plastic water bottles and less than 50 cents a year if the water were acquired from the tap. Saving nearly $1,400 a year is sufficient reason for many people to make the switch. The process involved in manufacturing plastic water bottles is also concerning. Recent reports revealed 17 million barrels of oil are used every year to manufacture plastic used to meet the country's demand for bottled water. That's enough oil to power over one million automobiles for an entire year. Eliminating these bottles would not only diminish the clutter in our landfills, but also help conserve the amount of fossil fuels being used.
Alternatives to the Plastic Water Bottle
Although the filling system at Gunn High School represents a strong initial step toward solving the plastic water bottle problem, it is only the beginning. While the system helps reduce the amount of water bottles thrown in the trash, it doesn't address the problems of toxic plastic. After only a few days, chemicals found in the plastic can leach into the water. So, rather than reusing the same plastic water bottle, many experts believe it is much safer to go with a bottle made from a safe, reusable material. Popular alternative materials for reusable water bottles include glass, stainless steel, and aluminum. By switching to a bottle made from one of these materials, you can help reduce plastic water bottle pollution and contribute to the health of our environment.