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Plastic Water Bottles at Wayland Middle School: Hydrating or Harmful?

By Ainsley Jay

Thanks to Isaac Hanna & Wyeth Heliman for help with the data

In Wayland Middle School we alway have large shipments of plastic bottles shipped to us from the brand ‘Poland Spring to Pure Life. There are packages all around the school. Nearly every time I walk into a classroom, I see a couple of water bottles left behind. I see plastic water bottles all over the ground when I go outside for a break. All of them are just scattered around the ground, not even in the recycling bin. 

In this picture, a classroom has over 60 water bottles collected in just two weeks!

The misuse of the plastic bottles bothers me in many ways. First of all, there have been occasions when kids used the plastic bottles as a fun game. They like to put the capped bottle on the ground and jump on it. The water spreads everywhere. This shows a misuse of water. All of it is just going to waste. Water is meant for us to stay hydrated, swim in, and give life to plants. Not for playing with or wasting it.

When so many kids are littering, we wonder if WMS students care about the environment.  Do they realize that they are contributing  to climate change by wasting water and misusing plastic?  A step to preventing the worsening of the climate change crisis that students can take is simply choosing to finish the water and choosing not to litter. 

The school should not be bringing in packages of plastic water bottles every day. According to the National Academics, in 2021 8.8 million metric tons of plastic are in the world’s oceans every year. If Wayland Middle school could get rid of the plastic water bottles, that would help. However, we can stop wasting now if our student body would commit to only using one water bottle a day, completely drinking every bottle you take, and recycling the bottle when you are done.  We can do our part to prevent climate change by simply being mindful of the water bottles we take each day. 

Truth is we all like to believe recycling the plastic water bottles will work. However, there is always a strong chance of them going into a landfill or the ocean. Some companies find innovative ways to reuse more plastic bottles. By using only the water bottles we need, we as a whole school could prevent pollution.

Let’s be honest the plastic water bottles might hydrate us because we can’t use the water fountain, but we can also bring reusable water bottles to prevent waste. Yes, something as simple as bringing your own reusable water bottle can prevent the waste we see in our school from the plastic water bottles. Once you fill it with a new bottle of water, then you could properly recycle the empty bottle in the school recycle bins.

The school could also seek out more solutions to being a factor in climate change. Such as giving a short amount of reusable water bottles to the nurses office. A kid who has forgotten their water bottle can always go in to ask for a water bottle. 

On April 7, 2022 the Orange and Black Staff conducted a quick search of half-filled water bottles in the classroom.  We found ~130 bottles in just five classrooms!

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