Pittsburgh Science Teacher is a Pioneer in Banning the Bottle
PITTSBURGH – Bye, bye, plastic bottles.
When Sewickley Academy students arrived to school this week, some likely noticed water bottle refilling stations.
In an effort to phase out plastic bottles across campus, the private Edgeworth school installed several of the stations for use with reusable bottles, Head of School Kolia O’Connor said.
“Students will be encouraged to bring their own refillable bottles as we phase out having bottled water on campus,” O’Connor said. “There are enormous environmental and sustainability implications that align with our commitment to sustainability and care for the environment.”
Senior school science teacher Tracy Wazenegger said she was happy to hear school administrators would work to limit the amount of plastic throw-away bottles used.
Wazenegger has banned students from bringing plastic bottles into her classroom for a couple of years and said a schoolwide focus will help reinforce the message she’s trying to get students to understand.
“There’s almost no reason to buy a bottle of water,” she said. “Twenty years ago, no one was doing that. We’ve been trained to do it.”
Wazenegger doesn’t limit her classroom ban to plastic bottles, though.
“Some of them get really bummed out with a fresh Starbucks cup in their hand,” she said. “I tell them, ‘You can leave it outside and get it after class. They make reusable Starbucks mugs.’”
Her approach has caught on as, Wazenegger said, at least one other teacher plans to ban plastic bottles in class.
Around the time Wazenegger banned plastic bottles from her classroom is when she said she tried to become more aware of using the items in her life.
“I’ll still occasionally get a bottle of water if I forget my reusable,” she said, but those occasions are rare. “I’ve been consistently good about it for the last two years.”
Making the switch from plastic to reusable isn’t hard, Wazenegger said.
“It’s such an easy thing,” she said. “Everyone has a refrigerator at home with an ice machine, or they have a (water filter). It’s so easy to fill at before you leave for the day.”