Tonbridge School is making a stand against plastic pollution by bringing to an end the single use of bottles and cups across the school.
By issuing all boys and staff with reusable, durable water bottles, as part of its drive to combat plastic waste, the school is determined to play its part in what is now an international campaign against plastic pollution.
The bottles are easy to clean, dishwasher safe and suitable for classroom and exam room use. They can be re-filled at six newly installed, state-of-the-art water fountains at the school, which provide clean tap water, ready to drink.
Juliet Burnett, the school’s Community Action Manager, said: “Getting rid of single-use water bottles seemed a natural first step. We want to take a lead on what, in many ways, is simply a change of culture and habit. As a school we take our social responsibilities seriously, both to our local community and to the wider world, and we are committed to doing what we can to reduce plastic waste.”
Plastic water bottles have now been removed from sale in the school’s Library café and in its Orchard Centre, and will no longer be provided in boys’ packed lunches, on sports trips or at parents’ evenings.
As well as being in keeping with major initiatives both in the UK and around the world to reduce the amount of plastic that is discarded in day to day life, the school’s new policy will also be helping developing nations.
The school’s water fountains and new bottles have been supplied by Join The Pipe, a Dutch organisation that sets up drinking water projects in poorer parts of the world. For every fountain and bottle that it sells in European countries, Join The Pipe is able to help fund its mission of installing fresh water pumps and improving sanitation in Africa and South East Asia.
As Join the Pipe’s first UK customer, Tonbridge School is the first school to install its water fountains in this country. Join The Pipe has decided that all profits from the UK market should fund water projects in Sri Lanka, and therefore Tonbridge’s new initiatives will be directly benefitting Child Action Lanka, one of the school’s key partnerships.
Mrs Burnett added: “We are proud of our links with Child Action Lanka, which works to transform the lives of the most disadvantaged children in Sri Lanka. For the past five years we have sent out groups of boys to work in its bases across Sri Lanka, as well as taking out sports kit and raising funds for its valuable work. This year sees another big fundraising push to help build Child Action Lanka a new centre, and we are hoping that Join the Pipe will be able to supply clean drinking water to this exciting venture.”
To date, Join The Pipe has set up more than 400 water pumps in Africa and South East Asia. It also provides school children in these countries with water bottles, helping to improve hygiene, and trains local people to install the pumps.
Andrew Eversden, Managing Director of Join The Pipe International, said: “We are really pleased to be working with Tonbridge School and supplying our first refill stations in the UK. Every refill station we install, and every bottle we sell, contributes to a water project in a developing company, providing clean drinking water, and we are extremely happy to be working on a project in Sri Lanka with Tonbridge.”
Looking to the future, the school is also aiming to get rid of other wasteful plastics, such as disposable coffee cups and plastic bags, as it continues to reflect on how to work as a force for good in environmental matters.
Below: Boys show their new reusable bottles; and one of the Join The Pipe fountains at the school.
- Social Responsibility