Sisler’s Ban the Bottle Campaign
Our vision was to tackle the use of single-use water bottles. We wanted to remove the water bottle vending machines from our school and we wanted to bring as much awareness to our school about the negative consequences of using these bottles. Focusing on awareness regarding plastic pollution and on the actions of water bottle companies.
We first met with our principal and learnt about how difficult it would be to remove the vending machines, due to contracts and the funding the school receives. He did however encourage us to continue with all the other aspects of our campaign. We decided that we needed to educate our peers on why they should choose reusable water bottles and not support the big bottled water companies. Our student recyclers began collecting and putting aside water bottles from the blue bins. We then started a big multi media campaign: We made posters directing students to “Free water” which would lead them to water fountains. We made posters posted near the vending machines that included math calculations for how much money it would cost to buy this bottled water daily, and how much money the company pays to buy the water from municipalities. This poster campaign extend to our sustainability instagram account, and included a video as well as posters in teachers classrooms and daily announcements. We also handed out reusable water bottles to our grade 9 students that had our school logo printed on them. After the media campaign we were going to do another round of recycling data collection, but the covid pandemic forced us to stop that plan.
Reflection & Celebration
Even though the school was shut down to in person learning right in the middle of our campaign, we still feel that we attained a measure of success. Our principal got a second water bottle filling station installed in our school! We were pleasantly surprised by this, as it was one of the things that we had been promoting in the campaign, but many students voiced their frustration that the one we had was too far away or too busy at break time. With the addition of the second station, more students will have easy access to refill their water bottles. A big part of our campaign was raising awareness that our tap water is clean and safe. A consequence of covid was that when we returned to in person learning in September, all the water fountains were covered over with plastic and banned from use. It is understandable due to covid but frustrating as it directly contradicts our message. Our hope is that after the pandemic, we can start again encouraging students to choose tap water either from the fountain or a reusable bottle and shun the single use bottles from the vending machines and the stores