Slovenian Rotarians, among whom are very active members of the Rotary Club Idrija, are successfully continuing the movement to encourage drinking water from glass bottles instead of plastic bottles. In partnership with Hidria, at an event before tomorrow's World Earth Day, 375 personalized glass bottles with the names and surnames of the new owners were given to the students and professors of the Jurija Vega Idrija High School.
Modern lifestyle burdens the environment with pollution, including microplastics. More than eight million tons of plastic waste end up in the seas and oceans every year. Microplastics thus enter the food chain and affect the health of humans and other living beings. Microplastic particles are also consumed by drinking from plastic bottles. Slovenian Rotarians, on the initiative of Dr. Iztok Seljak, director of Hidria Holding and former governor of Rotary Slovenia, set the goal of Slovenia becoming the first country in the world without the use of bottles for water and other beverages by 2025. With this goal in mind, over 24,000 bottles were donated and sold in the last two years.
Janez Podobnik, a member of the Rotary Club of Idrija and former Minister of the Environment, emphasizes: "From the very beginning, we have been leading by example, especially in partnership with companies. More than forty Slovenian companies have already actively joined our movement, the Hidria corporation among the first. We also cooperate with some ministries and municipalities. We are particularly happy to cooperate with Slovenian secondary schools. In the Jurij Vega Idrija High School, we have found sympathy for the healthy lifestyle of the students, as well as the professors, which is why we gladly decided to donate the glass bottles."
"At Hidria, which is focused on the development and production of sustainable automotive and industrial technologies aimed at the complete decarbonization of the planet, we have been supporting the movement to deplastify Slovenia from the very beginning. We first gave the bottles to about two thousand Hidria employees. In this way, we reduced the amount of plastic waste by around 500,000 bottles per year, and at the same time saved funds that we previously used to buy drinks. I am glad that we are continuing our efforts for a clean and healthy environment on this year's Earth Day in cooperation with the Jurij Vega Idrija High School," adds Dr. Iztok Seljak.
Karmen Vidmar, principal of Jurij Vega Idrija High School, points out: "Every week, our students took an average of a thousand drinks in plastic bottles at lunch. This means a ton of environmentally harmful waste packaging just for the drinks. We are proud that it was our students who drew our attention to this issue through the Student Community. With donated glass bottles marked with the students' names and surnames, we enable each student to bring their own drink to school, or pour tea or water at school. We are grateful to Hidria and the Rotary Club Idrija for donating bottles to help the students in their quest for a better tomorrow, and we have taken a key step towards more sustainable thinking and reducing waste packaging at the school. We hope that with similar actions in the fight against climate change, we will inspire new generations of schoolchildren!"
After today's event, the students of the Idrija high school took care of a more beautiful and healthier environment with a cleaning campaign in the vicinity of the school, they arranged a herb garden, set up a compost bin and baked eco pancakes.
The movement aimed at giving up drinking water and other drinks from plastic bottles has, in addition to environmental and health, a humanitarian dimension. "One euro from each bottle is dedicated to environmental and health purposes. This is how we supported the activities of the Slovenian Association for Lymphoma and Leukemia at the national level," adds Janez Podobnik. "Old wisdom teaches us that the key is to take the first step. This is especially true when it comes to changes in our habits, both consumer and nutritional. That's why we invite everyone to stop using bottles when drinking water. We know it won't be easy. But we are starting something good. And where it's worth going, there are no shortcuts."