Article by Liam Ramos
The Sustainability Council is made up of 5 positions: Khenzom A. as President, Kae Li K. as the Nature head, Abhinav S. as the Economy head, Joungbihn P. as the Society head and Sana S. as the Wellbeing head. These people are heavily involving themselves in trying to improve ISM’s sustainability. In the coming year, the Council plans to focus on one of the biggest problems in this school—reducing the waste production of the ISM community.
Last year, the Council created an indicator report which measured and displayed ISM’s sustainability in terms of Nature, Economy, Society, and Wellbeing. The results were appalling—ISM’s waste was and is still one of the biggest problems in the school. When did it become normal for tables to be littered with trash after lunch? This is a disastrous problem that, for the most part, has gone unnoticed despite its prevalence. Fortunately, however, the Sustainability Council has three main projects planned for 2018 in order to address this issue.
Think Before You Drink
Their first project is called “Think Before You Drink,” or TYBD. This plan aims to encourage students to stop using unnecessary plastic by removing objects such as lids and straws for cups. This may seem ineffective, but the school creates 140,000 food containers in a year, and 230,775 sets of utensils. Reducing the waste of cups, which makes up the majority of the trash, would cause a substantial decrease in these numbers.
Vendors in the canteen and the Bearcat Café will no longer provide that extra lid or straw—unless specifically requested for—in order to promote more sustainable thinking in the ISM community. You can also get a 5 peso discount by bringing in your own container. The Sustainability Council stated, “We hope that before students and teachers buy a drink, they think about the impact and realize they don’t need that extra lid or extra straw, and that TBYD will give people a clear option not to produce extra waste.”
“A-Z Sustainability,” their second initiative, is a way to promote eco-friendly habits in classrooms. The aim of this undertaking is to create and place guides for teachers in every classroom. According to the council, the guides would have step by step checklists and will be debunking common recycling myths. Their main target for this is the faculty, especially new teachers, as they hope to influence them into prioritising a greener mindset and making a conscious effort for the ISM community to be collectively as low impact as possible.
Their final endeavor is “Separwaste.” The council says, “This is a year-long project which aspires to ameliorate and facilitate waste management in ISM by improving the waste segregation system.” This will be done in two different ways: firstly, waste segregation will be promoted during advisory settings, and secondly, trash bins around the school will be outfitted with new, clearer labels, which have been voted on by ISM students and faculty.
These three projects all aim to expand upon what the Council accomplished last year, which included selling cacti to raise a total of 11,000 PHP and “Green Tips of the Month,” in which they posted tips on their Sustainability Council board (located on the 3rd floor) to help people incorporate green actions more into their life.
This change cannot be made alone. “Just because you throw away plastic doesn’t mean it’s actually gone.” Says the council, “Remember that styrofoam container you used 8 years ago? It still exists somewhere in a landfill. The next time you use a straw or plastic lid, ask yourself, how much do I really need this? Is the 5 minute use of this straw worth polluting landfills that will stay there for hundreds of years?
“This is definitely overstated, but sustainability really doesn’t mean having less or giving up more things. It can benefit the environment and can actually benefit you more. For example, using your own container/mug can save you money and time!”
The Sustainability Council hopes that our entire ISM community can become more eco-friendly in the coming year. It is up to each individual to make their own contribution to making this school more sustainable. Look out for and participate in their projects in order to make your own dent in the battle against our trash.