Plastic Pollution? Here’s the Solution!


Photo by Aja Schiller

Plastic garbage in the school.

About 38 billion plastic water bottles are wasted annually; more than $1 billion dollars is spent on plastic per year. At Aspen High School, 16 cases of 24 water bottles are purchased on average each school week, totaling to 384 bottles. This means that roughly 88 water bottles are wasted every week. With about 27 regular school weeks per year, that means that a little over 2,300 bottles are thrown into the landfill, and roughly 10,368 bottles are purchased.

Since 2011, the University of Toronto has been plastic water bottle free claiming that, “Clean, free drinking water is a basic human right. It should not be bought and sold as a commodity.” They have encouraged their students to bring their own bottles, where they can fill their bottles at water bottle filling stations instead of wasting a bottle nearly every day. At AHS, we also have water bottle filling stations along with regular water fountains around the school. Water is accessible and easy to get. We should be taking advantage of the opportunity of clean drinking water and help contribute to reduce our AHS pollution rate.

In an annual test lead by the city of Aspen in 2015, they discovered that the tap water had no violations, and was perfectly safe to drink.

The AHS’ Environment Club, lead by Travis Moore, has a committee tackling the plastic consumption in the school. During the college fair, they sold metal water bottles and had paper cups to drink from instead of selling plastic water bottles.

“I find it discouraging that we continue to use so much plastic and that students keep demanding so much plastic. We could be doing so much better and there’s so many different ways to cut down our use,” Moore said. “We need better education on plastic. Every piece of plastic that you buy is going to be on the Earth forever.”

Currently, humans only recover 5% of the plastic that we throw away, leaving the rest to be dumped into the oceans or landfills.

“It’s too easy and too cheap. I think that if we got rid of the peer pressure and got better education on the subject, then maybe the consumption would be lower,” Travis said.

The solution is simple, we need to stop buying plastic water bottles and instead replace them with metal or have kids bring their own bottles. It’s permanently damaging the environment and everything living in it.