Take Back the Tap initiative targets plastic bottle usage

Jack Crovitz, Contributing Writer

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Take Back the Tap, a waste-conscious initiative led by Natalie Sweet (10), will be implemented at the school for the second year in a row to decrease the student body’s plastic usage and spread environmentally friendly practices.

The initiative aims to reduce the use of disposable plastic bottles in the cafeteria by incentivizing students to bring their own eco-friendly reusable water bottles. To accomplish this, Take Back the Tap will be supplying the cafeteria with coolers containing naturally flavored water on Fridays.

“Take Back the Tap is for students to be aware of the amount of plastic bottles that are used by the school every day and also to reduce the amount of bottles used,” Sweet said.

The school’s Take Back the Tap initiative is based on similar initiatives to reduce usage of disposable water bottles at institutions such as the University of Chicago and Cornell University,. Many of the school’s strategies have been inspired by these programs.

However, Horace Mann represents the first high school to open a Take Back the Tap chapter, Sweet said. The school’s Take Back the Tap chapter is also unique for its strategy of flavored water coolers and posters to encourage reusable instead of disposable bottles.

Although Luke Weber (11) has noticed the water coolers in the cafeteria, he is “not aware of Take Back the Tap’s goals,” he said.

Take Back the Tap “seems like it has a good intention, and I’m sure some people use it, but I’ve never used it,” Lowell Finster (10) said.

However, Luke Weber (10) believes many students are not aware of their environmental impact, he said.

To improve Take Back the Tap during this school year, Sweet has been asking students what they want from the program, she said.

“I’m trying to create more incentives to participate by taking suggestions from people,” she said.

These suggestions, which students can send to Sweet by email, have included requests for sales of reusable water bottles at the school, putting up more posters, having flavored water coolers more often, and speaking about Take Back the Tap at assemblies, she said.

However, there are other ways students can help with Take back the Tap’s mission, Sweet said. The most simple thing a student has to do to be involved in the initiative is to “just bring your water  bottle to school,” she said.