Editorial: How Much Plastic Does ASW Use? Nobody Knows.

By Sabina Soltysik

Every day walking around the premises of the school, I see plastic use everywhere. Plastic knives and forks are being overused; plastic cups are falling to the ground from the cup dispensers. Frustrated by this, I planned to investigate how much plastic the school actually uses.

Photo by Sabina Soltysik

During a meeting with the School’s Director, Mr Zurfluh, I discovered that the school does not keep track of how much plastic is used. According to Mr Zurfluh, ‘We don’t have good data from the garbage collection to give a sense of how much plastic we are giving to the system.” Mr Zurfluh said I was the first person in the time he has been in office to ask about the plastic use at our school.

This is surprising to me as we are a generation that is becoming more and more aware of negative environmental impacts. Moreover, the fact that no one has yet thought to do something about this issue is very shocking.

Mr Zurfluh suggested that reducing plastic usage might not be the administration’s role at ASW. We should rather change people’s mindset towards the environment, he suggested, and build a community based around the idea of a more sustainable school. 

Diana S. (12) said that she feels “not well informed on the issue but I do try to be better at not using too much plastic.” It is good to see that some students, despite not knowing much about this issue, are at least trying to make a small change.

I also spoke with the Environment Club who have been looking towards different solutions for this problem at our school. They are trying to come up with a proposal on getting rid of the plastic cups at school and giving every student in the school a reusable water bottle.

Mr Zurfluh, however, pointed out that it’s not just about reusable water bottles. In order to come up with a solution we have to look at the bigger picture. Doubling the amount of water used from water coolers would also increase the amount we need to spend on filling those coolers. According to Mr Zurfluh, what his previous school, the Anglo-American School of Moscow, ended up doing was introducing a filtered water system. According to Mr. Zurfluh, a group of students at Moscow worked with the school to install filtered water fountains.

There are several ways we as individuals can limit the plastic usage at our school. For example, why not make life a lot simpler by buying a reusable water bottle? In addition, instead of using the plastic knives and forks, use the metal ones that are supplied by the cafeteria.

ASW could start taking action by introducing some long-term projects to make our school more environmentally friendly. Getting rid of all the plastic cups and the plastic bottled water in our school, and replacing them with water fountains, would be a good place to start. Even though ASW does have some water fountains, no one uses them. If we can upgrade these water fountains, or install new ones, we can significantly reduce the plastic usage at our school.

However, a project like this would take a lot of time and commitment. Maybe with enough support from the school, we will be able to complete such a project. The Environment Club is starting to take action on this issue, and so I hope something will change in the way we work at our school. Hopefully, people will start realising the significance of living sustainably.


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