JACKSONVILLE, Fla.Although Earth Day is a day we dedicate to the planet and we focus our efforts on how we can help it, there are simple things we can do every single day that can help. One is to reduce our dependence on single-use plastic containers, which can be harmful for both the environment as well as our bodies.
Plastic was first invented in the 1950s. It is cheap, easy to use, and made from petroleum. Plastic has been produced by factories in excess of 9.1 billion tonnes. Today, plastic products can be found everywhere, including plastic bottles.
Their popularity is evident in the numbers
We use 1.2 million plastic bottles per minute.
Americans buy 50 Billion water bottles each year
However, 91% of plastic we use isn’t recycled and ends up in our landfills where it breaks down into tiny toxic chemicals. These chemicals end up in the environment, and 14,000,000 tons of plastic end-up in our oceans each year.
It’s not just the environment that is at risk. Research has shown that plastics can cause health problems, from birth defects to cancer.
Beaches Go Green is an environmental nonprofit that has partnered up with seven North Florida schools in order to create clubs and distribute reusable water bottles free of charge — starting with student-athletes.
Zaeta Blakeslee cowen, an 8th grader at Fletcher Middle School, stated that she would bring plastic water bottles almost every day.
I was a softball player all my life. Taylor Brown, a junior and copresident of the Ponte Vedra High School Beaches Go Green Club, stated that I used Gatorade bottles, single use plastic bottles, all the time.
Fletcher Middle, Ponte Vedra High, and Fletcher Middle are just a few of the schools who have joined Beaches Go Green.
These are our Beaches Go Green water containers. Ainsley Baldwin, a Fletcher Middle 8th-grader, demonstrates one of the bottles.
Fletcher Middle is right next to the beach. This is one reason why school administrators claim it has not been difficult to change children’s minds about plastic.
The (The) swim team is now getting water bottles. We have a sponsor. They will make them. It’s amazing, said Joe McKenzie, Principal of Fletcher Middle School.
Each Beaches Go Green reusable water bottle is made from aluminum. It costs around $11 per bottle. The majority of this cost is paid for by sponsors who place their logo on the bottle.
When we distribute the bottles to athletes, we inform them that plastic isn’t biodegradable. Every single piece of plastic ever made is still around and will continue to be. Plastic will never go away. It is therefore important to reuse, explained Veronica Shoff (junior and president of the Beaches Go Green club at Ponte Vedra High).
Principal McKenzie demonstrated how one reusable water container can replace 156 plastic bottles, a significant and positive impact on the students’ health as well as the environment.
Beaches Go Green has more sponsors and more schools. Every student should be able to receive a bottle and a lesson for free.
Morgan Eaton, Beaches GoGreen, stated that our goal is to eliminate single-use plastic and educate the youth.
Students are taking this goal seriously, and they are working to eliminate plastic in their lives and protect the environment.
Ponte Vedra highs Brown said that it is to reduce single use plastic as much as possible, to influence their children and their grandchildren, great-grandchildren and future generations to do the same.
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