The new Plastic Bottle Initiative, started this year by the Environmental Action Committee (EAC) and facilitated by Biology teacher Deb Harrison and Buildings and Grounds Director Mike McHugh and Dining Services Director Matt Burek, is just one of the many ways that Nobles is reducing its carbon footprint and helping the environment. The admissions office recently had the opportunity to chat with Deb Harrison a bit more about this exciting initiative to learn more about Nobles’ efforts to eliminate plastic bottles from the community. Here is some of what she had to say:
Q: What exactly is Nobles’ Plastic Bottle Initiative?
A: In a nutshell, the Plastic Bottle Initiative it is an effort to eliminate single use plastic bottles from campus.
Q: What were the motivations behind this initiative?
A: This initiative was inspired by many years of conversation with both students and adults about the possibility of completely removing plastic bottles from our community. Before launching this effort, we did a fair amount of research on how other institutions have taken on similar initiatives in the past. Additionally, the initiative received the last bit of momentum that it needed to be launched at the beginning of this school year with the Plastic Pollution Coalition’s presentation here last spring.
Q: What effects has this initiative had on the student body and the Nobles community as a whole?
A: As a result of this initiative, more members of the community are now using reusable water bottles, which are quite visible around campus during the school day. In addition, there has been a dramatic decrease in the availability of plastic bottles on campus. No plastic bottles of any kind are being sold at the snack bar and the MAC so that students and staff need to bring their own reusable bottles to school if they want water or any other kind of beverage. In addition, the dining service no longer provides plastic bottled water or drinks at any events.
Q: What are some of the things Nobles has done to facilitate the no plastic bottles initiative?
A: Nobles has installed water fountains with filters, which makes it very convenient to refill reusable water bottles. An effort has also been made by the parents’ association to spread the word to parents about not bringing plastic water bottles to sporting events for teams. The PA is also raising general awareness for Nobles parents to encourage their kids to bring water bottles to school instead of plastic bottled water In addition, Nobles now sells reusable metal water bottles for a very low price with the catchy phrase “Go Blue, Go Green,” on them. This logo underscores how much of a team effort this is as we establish ourselves as a plastic bottle free and “green” community.
Q: What does Nobles plan to do moving forward to continue enhancing this initiative and help the environment?
A: Our ultimate goal is for 100% of the school community to commit to not bringing plastic bottles to campus. More importantly though, this initiative is about creating a culture within our community that completely supports the reduction of plastics in everyday life and fosters a mindset focused on what we can do as a community to make more environmentally sustainable choices on a daily basis. In addition to the Plastic Bottle Initiative, Nobles also hopes to continue working toward 100% accurate recycling, consistent and ongoing energy conservation by turning of lights, and eliminating food waste.