By Jake Lupu and Zofia Ciolek
It was the first day of school following the Christmas break. As usual, a group of students walked into the cafeteria for their morning dose of hydration. Minds still a bit fuzzy after the long break, they only noticed the lack of something in the dispenser after one of them stuck their hand out to grab a drink. In this moment moment they realised the plastic cups had been hunted into extinction. And it was the moment they knew that the era of the plastic cups had come to a close.
The ASW community has recently undergone a big change: It has taken the first step in ridding the school of unnecessary plastic waste. This was a decision that hadn’t really come by surprise – since the beginning of the school year the environmental club had been passionately advocating for having the school cut down on the waste produced. This could be seen by their enthusiasm in spreading the word and talking to school officials to clear plastic cups from our environment.
Whilst students had known of the change since before going on the December break, the new policy was only officially put into motion on January 7th.
“I think that it’s alright, along as they provide a good alternative to the plastic cups,” says Barbara R. (10), suggesting that paper cups might be a better substitute because they’re more biodegradable.
Igne B., a 12th grader from the Environmental Club, stated that “if it is necessary to have cups of some sort, alternatives that do not produce such waste will be bought instead” such as biodegradable ones. She said that paper cups “are arguably similarly polluting as plastic cups” and those will not be bought either.
This poses a new question. Will the paper cups next to the coffee machines be gotten rid of too? To some, the school is slowly seeming to go down that path, suggesting that students and faculty interested in purchasing coffee should think of either bringing their own reusable cups or of using the mugs placed next to the machines.
When asked about how she thinks this will impact student life, Igne said that, whilst it will impact some students more than others, she doesn’t believe “it will be in a negative way.” She also believes that bringing a reusable water bottle is more convenient than using the plastic cups, because students will “have access to water all day” as opposed to only having water access when in the cafeteria.
Furthermore, the “Environmental Club will see if there are changes in the number of water bottles bought [in the cafeteria], to see what our next steps will be,” said Igne. “Giving up convenience can be hard, but I think it’s about time for ASW to do so when it comes to cups,” she said.