One Toronto school board is stepping up to plate to fully ban single-use plastic water bottles from all its schools. The Toronto Catholic District School Board is getting rid of plastic waste with this new ban. The Toronto school plastic bottle ban aims to help the environment and protect natural resources.
Catholic schools in Toronto no longer supply plastic water bottles at schools like in vending machines or the cafeteria. Instead, students and staff are being told to bring resusable bottles that they can fill up at water refilling stations in the school.
"We have no right bottle and sell what is a natural resource," TCDSB trustee Norm Di Pasquale told Narcity.
The idea of reducing and then all together elimintating plastic water bottles from TCDSB schools has been floating around the school board for years.
It was first introduced to the board of trustees years ago by a student-led initiative aimed at getting rid of plastic water bottles in schools and offices. It was passed by trustees in 2011 but back then it wasn't a full ban.
The language of the initiative has recently changed from saying schools should not provide plastic water bottles to students at school to schools shall not provide plastic water bottles to students.
"We've made it utterly mandatory that this instruction be followed," said Di Pasquale.
The board calls water "our gift, our responsibility, our opportunity" and has been working on this initiative for eight years now.
And it's important not only to the school board itself but to students, staff and trustees as well.
"Charging people for what should be a freely available God-given resource just really goes against what I stand for," said Di Pasquale.
The board believes that you can't just ban plastic water bottles without offering an alternative because if you don't do than then people will just fall back into using the plastic ones.
So the TCDSB is retrofitting fountains in every school to have water refilling stations to ensure that students have access to water that isn't coming from a plastic bottle.
Di Pasquale recalled going to talk to a class at a TCDSB school recently and every single student had a resuable water bottle on their desk.
"I couldn't be more proud," he said.