Broken Bottle Project Plans to Break Forest Hills’ Plastic Usage

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Broken Bottle Project Plans to Break Forest Hills Plastic Usage

60 million. That’s how many water bottles end up in landfills and incinerators each day. 60 million water bottles that end up floating in the ocean or lakes or rivers. 60 million water bottles that blow across the side of the highway. 60 million water bottles that when burned in order to “dispose,” produce a wide variety of pollutants that are detrimental to human health. 60 million water bottles each day. And yet, this number is nothing compared to the 22 billion bottles that are disposed of each year. If these numbers alarm you, they should. Because the harsh truth is that the rate in which we are consuming, producing, and throwing away plastic water bottles is not sustainable. After all, it takes 450 years for plastic to decompose.

It will take drastic change for our consumption of plastic water bottles to reduce and even be eradicated which will start with smaller scale movements. But seniors Emily Jenkins, Meredith Howe, and Meghan Vonck are up for the challenge and already have put into motion a solution: The Broken Bottle Project.

The Broken Bottle Project was started by Howe after she approached FHE Gone Boarding teacher Bill Curtis with her idea for a service project that would involve all three schools.

“She was interested in doing something positive for the community and also make a global impact,” Curtis explained. “She is a very passionate person.”

While Howe herself was not taking the Gone Boarding class, she still felt that Curtis could help her with her pitch. Curtis gave her the names of Jenkins of FHC and Vonck of FHN, both of whom were taking Gone Boarding, since he knew all three girls were environmentally conscious and would be excited about the proposed project.

Because Jenkins and Howe studied at the Island school and Vonck attended Goodwillie Environmental school, all three girls have a great deal of awareness of the environment.

“We came together and decided we wanted to do something big that would help educate and initiate a change in our schools that would benefit the environment,” Jenkins said.

After some collaboration, the three girls decided their new project would involve the creation and sale of reusable water bottles so as to reduce the number of plastic waste the Forest Hills community would contribute to landfills and incineration plants.

According to Jenkins, the idea behind the project is to get students to consider the impacts they can have on bettering the health of our planet and fight for a cause that cannot fight for itself.

“We decided to start the BBP because the three of us have seen and been affected by plastic waste and wanted to educate others on the damage that we are causing by simply tossing a plastic bottle in the trash can,” Howe said.

According to Curtis, his connections in the action sports industry allowed for the girls to be in contact with with “MIZU,” a company known for their well-crafted stainless steel water bottles that would be a perfect brand for the water bottles they were looking to sell. But the process is not over yet.

While MIZU is on board with the project and the graphic design for the face of the water bottles has been selected, the girls need a source of funding, explained Howe. As soon as the money is raised the order will be placed and the water bottles will be ready for distribution.

According to Jenkins, the first meeting was held this past December, and the girls have met each week since to devise a plan and assign tasks that need to be completed by the next meeting. Although they had broader plans for the project in the beginning, with Howe and Jenkins being the fundraisers and Vonck being the logistics of getting the water bottles, they had to abandon other parts of the project and the focus became solely on the water bottles.

“Unfortunately, we initially had bigger goals,” Vonck said. “We planned to host benefit concerts and to raise more money than we are currently aiming to to donate to clean water foundations. However, with not enough time in our last year of high school, we decided to just do the water bottle project.”

In an attempt to draw in potential sponsors, a video has been made about the project and a proposal has been sent out regarding the Broken Bottle Project. According to Jenkins, Forest Hills Central principal Steve Passinault also needs to be contacted about organizing the installation of the refill stations placed around the school.

60 million bottles per day may seem like an impossible amount to overcome, but with small initiatives like The Broken Bottle Project, the girls hope that that number can slowly become more and more manageable.

“Although we are presenting the district with an opportunity to lessen plastic waste, it is each student and each family’s decision whether or not to practice what we are teaching,” Vonck said. “We hope that everyone will see the impact we could make if we all thought about the plastic bottles we are using before we use them.”