Schreiber ought to reduce its carbon footprint

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Everyday, hundreds of Schreiber students purchase lunch from the school cafeteria and hundreds of single-use
plastic forks, knives, and spoons are thrown out. Garbage cans are littered with countless numbers of plastic water
bottles and plastic wrappers from vending machines located around the school. According to a recent study
conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency, every year the United States produces 22 billion plastic
bottles. By providing so many water bottles, Schreiber contributes to this growing number.
In simple terms, Schreiber has not done enough to limit the amount of plastic produced. Recycling bins alone
do not encourage single-use plastic reduction. More than 91% of plastic is not recycled and instead ends up in
landfills where it could take thousands of years to decompose. Recycling is further complicated by regulations that
vary by county. Current infrastructure means that improper recycling can lead to a bag headed for a recycling plant
to instead become waste.
Schreiber should prevent the production of this waste from the start. Fewer water bottles should be available for
purchase, and instead, the school should add more water bottle fill-up stations. Many people are reluctant to use
the current water bottle fill-up stations and water fountains due to the fact the water is lukewarm and leaves an
unsettling film of residue. This, combined with the inconvenient location of these stations, deters people from using
them.
Many people then go and buy a single-use water bottle that they will soon after throw out. Reusable water
bottles are typically affordable and available but Schreiber could subsidize their purchase for students to ensure
varying financial need is not an inhibiting factor. Schreiber could also consider alternatives to plastic utensils. Metal
utensils should be provided in the cafeteria as a more sustainable alternative. This would have a significant impact
on how much trash is produced daily by students on school property.
The plastic production process is one of the leading causes of carbon emissions, a growing global concern.
Plastic takes colossal amounts of energy and resources to produce, with fossil fuel resources used in over 90% of
the production process. Scientists also believe that, if current trends continue, 20% of all global oil consumption
and 15% of global carbon emissions will be associated with plastic production within 30 years. When Schreiber
buys these plastic items in bulk, they are only contributing to this growing issue.
In order to do bring about this important change, students need to be advocates for progress. Changes like
these could have a significant impact, but students would need to stop their consumption of plastic products as
well. With joint efforts, students and administration can work to help Schreiber do its part in reducing plastic
consumption and carbon footprint.

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