Kent Denver School's participation in a global, student-led initiative to reduce single-use plastic products is off to a great start thanks to a rousing call-to-action from Alexandra Haymons '20. The initiative was created by no2plastic, a nonprofit "dedicated to changing consumer habits and to reducing single-use plastics to benefit planet health and human health."
On Monday, Haymons presented startling statistics about the devastating impact single-use plastic products such as water bottles, plastic straws and plastic cutlery have on the environment. (For instance, did you know about 30 million tons of non-biodegradable plastic are discarded each year in the U.S. alone?)
She then invited the entire KDS community to participate in no2plastic's international school challenge to reduce single-use plastic one school and one person at a time.
"In one day, we had 187 members of our community sign the pledge and commit to reduce almost 200,000 pieces of single use plastic," Haymons says. "Based on that, I'm really excited to see where this goes, especially since this is a yearlong challenge."
Haymons' passion for this effort caught the attention of Denver's CBS affiliate, and reporter Shawn Chitnis traveled to campus for an interview. His report will air on CBS4 on Tuesday, Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. Those who miss the initial airing can view the segment later on CBS4 online.
Tackling the single-use plastic problem might seem daunting, but Haymons is optimistic about students' ability to make a change.
"I really think it's about education," she says. "We're really working with students to educate them about how they can tangibly reduce these things in their lives. I'm hoping that people understand that change starts on an individual level. As youth, we can make a difference with easy everyday choices."
Bradley Jackson, Dean of Kent Denver's Class of 2020, is thrilled with the result Haymons' efforts have generated already.
"We tell our students that leadership means finding what you're passionate about and what you love, and then diving into it and going further," he says. "I think this is incredibly inspiring."