Ben Crain ’16
Plastic Bottle Initiative 2013
Did you know that plastic gyres float in all of the oceans in the world? Some estimate these masses of plastic pollution range in size from as small as Texas to as large as the United States. According to Green Peace International, a plastic trash vortex in the North Pacific slowly swirls clockwise, choking the fish, marine mammals and birds that get trapped inside of it.
Plastic physically traps animals and plants in the oceans, breaking down, and never dissolving completely. Some marine animals ingest the plastic later become the food we consume. Additional dangers are present for humans. Chemicals used to create plastic are made with endocrine disruptors that alter our hormone function. In 2010 the FDA warned of BPA’s danger to fetuses and children.
Tower Hill encourages us to not only excel academically, but the athletic program, which enables us to excel physically, is also an integral part of our education. Yet here at Tower Hill, our sports teams unwittingly contribute to the plastic problem. This spring, team moms, Mrs. Mitchell and Mrs. Maloney, sent a letter out to every player on the baseball team asking each family to supply sixty plastic bottle drinks per game, 30 bottles of water and 30 of Gatorade. While this is a typical preseason request for each team, this year, the team chose to reduce its plastic consumption of single use disposable plastics. With the support of Athletic Director Jack Holloway, Martha Mitchell bought large water jugs and reusable bottles for each player. Though parents are still providing individual Gatorades for this season, the plan is to have this go the way of the large water jugs. The teams are recycling the bottles after games. The changes might not appear great; maybe next year all teams will use stainless steel bottles, but the baseball team’s change reduced its plastic consumption by 870 bottles! If all 18 sports teams did this for a year, THS would reduce its plastic bottle usage by 15,660 bottles. Better still, if THS athletics chose to not hand out individual Gatorades, but used a big jug instead, Tower Hill would reduce its plastic bottle consumption by 31,320 in one year.