Australian School Ditches Bottled Water, While Another Becomes First Carbon Neutral School

monte school bottle water free students photo

Claudia Saunders tests water bubbler. Photo: Marina Neil. Sydney Morning Herald

While no longer breaking news, the endeavours of students and staff at two different Australian schools still merits attention. One school went bottled water free, whilst another became what they believe is the world's first Carbon Neutral School.

In the first instance, a student-led initiative at Monte Santʼ Angelo Mercy College, in North Sydney will see the school install six water fountains and bottle refill stations to provide the 1,100 students with filtered tap water, so the canteen need apparently no longer supply bottled water, with all its attendant environmental woes.

The other school Oakhill College,, also in Sydney at Castle Hill spent six months completing an environment audit of its 42 hectares of facilities. The school will buy carbon offsets, while it uses the next five years to continue along it's existing path of energy and water efficiency programs to the point it no longer requires the offsets.

Monte school bottled water free

Photo: David de Rothschild (left) and Jon Dee (right) attend school's bottled water free launch.

The Monte Santʼ Angelo Mercy College Environmental Captain, Claudia Saunders (pictured at top, and cutting ribbon above) said at the time that, "... it is important that we are responsible stewards of our world and that we are advocates for positive change. Monte is delighted to take the lead in this important environmental initiative. I hope this encourages the student body and leaders of other schools to follow our example."

Monte is likely to be the first major Secondary school to go bottled water free, following the lead set by the 170 students at Public Primary School in Bundanoon, NSW, who went bottled water free a year earlier, when their village became the world's First Bottled Water Free Town.

The bottled water free launch at Monte Santʼ Angelo Mercy College was attended by 2010 NSW Australian of the Year, Jon Dee, founder of the environmental campaign organisation Do Something! and by eco-adventurer David de Rothschild, expedition leader of the Plastiki, who had not long arrived in Sydney, after crossing the Pacific Ocean from San Francisco on a catamaran made of recycled aluminium and 12,500 reclaimed plastic bottles.

Oakhill College wetland photo

Photo: Oakhill's regenerated wetland

Oakhill College, with its 1,600 students, is well down the road towards being carbon neutral without the requirement to purchase carbon offsets. To date there has been "... extensive planting of native trees, the regeneration of a small wetland area, the recycling of a disused swimming pool for water capture and use on the College's ovals and the recycling programs already implemented at the College."

My apologies to the students, staff and their supporters who made these important projects a reality. I'm way behind on getting my stories posted on TreeHugger and really should have had these stories up weeks ago.

Via Do Something! and Shift2Neutral media releases, and story in the Sydney Morning Herald.

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