–by Ms. Elisia Brodeur–

Here are some of the ways we are currently working to “go green.”

Water Refill Stations

By now, we all know that single-use plastic bottles are harmful—and often deadly—to wildlife on land and sea and, despite efforts to recycle, are rapidly piling up in our landfills. In December 2018, Great Britain's Royal Statistical Society announced that 90.5% of “the estimated amount of plastic waste ever made has never been recycled. Estimated at 6,300 million metric tons, scientists calculated that around 12 percent of all plastic waste has been incinerated, while roughly 79 percent has found its way into landfills or become litter.”

"Around the world, almost 1 million plastic bottles are purchased every minute.” That’s how the following eye-opening article on Reuters.com begins: https://tmsnrt.rs/2m0h7GI. Check it out and watch the shocking animated GIFs to get a real and relatable sense of the issue. Furthermore, “It takes 22 gallons of water to produce one pound of plastic and double the amount of water found in a standard 500 ml bottle. There are communities in the world that don’t have access to this much fresh water for their entire lives.”

Depressing, isn’t it? As a way to combat our continued support of avoiding plastic bottles, RIS has installed four new water fountains/refill stations on campus that are designed to refill reusable water bottles. These water stations keep track of how many bottles have been refilled and, therefore, how many single-use plastic bottles we have not purchased and subsequently discarded. 

At the time of printing, we have refilled a total of XXXX on campus alone. We can do our part by choosing not to buy single-use plastics and instead keep refilling our bottles. Let’s see how high we can get those fountain counts! 

Ruamrudee International School Bangkok, Going green on campus

RIS Canteen

Our canteen is doing its part too. Most of the takeaway containers are now made from biodegradable plant products including corn, sugarcane, and cassava. While biodegradable options are much better than our former petroleum-based plastics, several people are bringing their own reusable containers. You can also get a 5-baht discount if you bring your own cup/mug to our coffee shops.

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https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2018/07/ocean-plastic-pollution-solutions/
https://pickwaste.com/2019/02/15/plastic-bottle/


Our canteen manager, Mr. Remo, has also been working to implement more environmentally friendly practices by minimizing plastic waste, recycling materials as much as possible, using composting stations for organic waste, and introducing biodegradable product packaging. Biodegradable plastics around campus include takeaway containers, cups, straws, forks, and spoons, and plastic bags. Watch this space for further updates!

Peace Week 

The United Nations’ theme for this year’s Peace Week (September 16–19) was Climate Action. There were many efforts across campus that week to raise awareness of environmental issues. In the Middle School, the MS Leadership Team chose colors to represent climate concerns and awarded house points for students who wore the day’s designated color, such as blue (to represent the oceans) and black or grey (to represent air pollution). 

Ruamrudee International School Bangkok, Going green on campus

The Outreach Group in the MS Leadership Team also educated MS students about the amount of plastic bags used each month in Bangkok. Last year Ms. Patty met a teacher at the servICE conference who is known as “the plastic bag man.” (His students taped plastic bags to him and took him to convenience stores in different parts of Bangkok to raise awareness that the average person in Bangkok uses up to 200 plastic bags a month!) The Outreach Group used a similar idea to design an art installation covered in plastic bags to display in the MS courtyard.

They also sold reusable RIS bottles to encourage students to stop purchasing plastic water bottles and instead use their reusable ones when buying drinks on campus. An MS parent also demonstrated how to make eco-bricks, which is a way to reuse soda bottles and plastic bags. The bags are stuffed into the bottles to create a strong “brick” that can be used to build structures!

Ruamrudee International School Bangkok, Going green on campus

Saving Energy on Campus

Here are some signs we recently made to go in classrooms and other places on campus to remind us all to do our part to save energy. Most power plants generate electricity by burning coal, crude oil, or other fossil fuels. Burning fossil fuels raises the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is a major contributor to the greenhouse effect and therefore global warming. We are doing our part to help the environment by using less energy, decreasing emissions, and conserving resources.

Ruamrudee International School Bangkok, Going green on campus

Turn Off Your Engine!

We have also posted signage to remind all drivers to turn off their engines while waiting in our parking lots. An idling vehicle contributes significantly to air pollution. “An idling engine can produce up to twice as many exhaust emissions as an engine in motion. Exhaust emissions contain a range of air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter. These can affect the air quality of the surrounding environment and the air we breathe,” according to Britain’s Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council.

Read on to learn more about the recycling efforts of the MS Eco Team, heed a parent’s call to action, learn how some RIS students are recycling juice boxes to produce furniture for schools, and more projects and initiatives around campus that we learned about during the Peace Week Assembly. No matter how big or small, as individuals and groups, we can make a difference.