04 Jan Some up and coming students, realise the value of our natural water.
SIMCOE COUNTY Board considers water bottle ban
Simcoe County’s public high school students want to see schools drained of bottled water.
But a school board superintendent warns the move could dry up a revenue stream for their schools.
Still, student trustees refused to dam up their determination to stop the flow of bottled water and recyclable bottles.
Student Trustee Matt Stergiou presented the board with a 2,500-name petition urging the board to reduce the sale use of bottled water.
“Our student senate in September had a lot of concerns (about bottled water). Students re interested in environmental issues in general, and this is a step in the right direction,” said Stergiou.
The board decided to develop a strategy to reduce – and eventually eliminate – the sale of bottled water in schools and administrative buildings.
Facilities superintendent John Dance said bottled water may cost up to 3,000 times higher than the cost of tap water, he said in a report.
But, he noted, banning it isn’t practical, especially since the board signed new vending-machine contracts this summer, to reflect new provincial healthy-eating guidelines.
That policy bans energy drinks and pop.
“(Vending) companies don’t have the volume. The healthy food policy hits the liquids harder than the food. Kids would come out of gym class and buy a Gatorade,” he said, recalling days as recent as last June.
The new guidelines went into effect in September, and more high school students are heading off-campus to get what they want.
“That has had an impact on resources for schools. Those contracts put money back into the schools,” he said.
“It’s a well-intentioned initiative, but the repercussions go off in different directions.”
Still, as he creates a strategy to reduce the use of bottled water, he said the board may provide Grade 9 students with a re-usable water bottle with their school logo on it, as well as educate students about the advantages of refilling their bottles.
The superintendent added the board, however, could save money as custodians’ workload would decrease, as would the board’s recycling costs.