Students work to improve sustainability in the school community

Upper+School+students+Hadley+Noonan+%2721+and+Mary+O%27Connor+%2721%2C+club+heads+of+the+Sustainability+Club%2C+work+to+reduce+the+amount+of+plastic+waste+in+the+Sacred+Heart+community.

Natalie Dosmond '21

Upper School students Hadley Noonan ’21 and Mary O’Connor ’21, club heads of the Sustainability Club, work to reduce the amount of plastic waste in the Sacred Heart community.

The Upper School Sustainability Club at Sacred Heart Greenwich is pioneering the education of students about the subject of environmental sustainability.  The two club heads, juniors Hadley Noonan and Mary O’Connor are implementing several changes into the Sacred Heart community, one of which is selling reusable cups to fund their future endeavors.

The Upper School Sustainability Club aims to make members of the Sacred Heart community more environmentally friendly.  Courtesy of Mrs. Marcie McDonald

Hadley and Mary’s main goal is to sell reusable cups that they designed to encourage students to reduce their use of disposable plastic.  This new initiative could help abate the 16 billion single-use coffee cups and 500 million plastic straws discarded around the world yearly, according to earthday.org.

Each year, the United States uses 35.4 million tons of plastic, and landfills across the country receive 26.8 million tons of this, according to epa.gov.

Hadley recognizes how single-use plastic can be detrimental to the environment and how the Sacred Heart community can strive to reduce their impact on environmental degradation.

“So far, our main initiative has been to cut back on the school’s large amount of single-use plastic by selling reusable cups, which help to support our mission,” Hadley said.  “Plastic coffee cups and straws are particularly bad for our environment, even when they are recycled. Most of our plastic ends up in landfills, oceans, and the greater environment.  Even worse, plastics are not biodegradable, meaning that they do not decompose. Instead, they slowly break down into smaller pieces of plastic.”

Hadley Noonan ’21 and Mary O’Connor ’21 are selling reusable cups to try to reduce plastic waste.  Natalie Dosmond ’21

These eco-friendly practices could help to reduce the estimated 270,000 tons of plastic floating through the world’s oceans, threatening 700 marine species, according to forbes.com.  Hadley and Mary are not only encouraging these changes, but are also using the money raised from selling the cups to incorporate small changes into the school.

“The money that we make from the reusable cups will be put right back into the school,” Mary said.  “We would like to start off by buying more reusable cutlery and compostable napkins so that the school can reduce waste.”

The students at Sacred Heart are supporting Hadley and Mary’s efforts by purchasing their reusable cups for $6.  Currently, Hadley and Mary have sold 42 cups, and they will sell them again in the near future at Upper School bake sales or sports games.

Hadley and Mary strive to bring several environmental issues, such as climate change and deforestation, to the attention of the entire school community, especially the youngest members.

“We hope to spread awareness about sustainability by making sure that everyone, even the youngest members of our community, understands how consequential our actions are at a time when our planet is particularly vulnerable,” Hadley said.  “Through educating our greater community, we want everyone to better understand the significance of sustainable actions, like recycling and compost.  It can seem difficult to implement sustainable practices into your daily schedules, and we would like to clarify how easy it can be to make small changes.”

Featured Image by Natalie Dosmond ’21