Florida nonprofit helps youth athletes reduce plastic pollution

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Imagine a greener world with less plastic pollution. This is what local nonprofit Beaches Go Green hopes to inspire. Through its Reusable Bottles for Sports program, BGG connects a local sponsor with a school or community sports team to provide team branded reusable bottles to young athletes.

The most recent success is a partnership with Flagler Health+ and Ponte Vedra Athletic where BGG has distributed more than 1,200 SIC-brand stainless-steel water bottles for athletes to use instead of single-use cups and plastic bottles.

PVAA teams including Jaws lacrosse, Riptide lacrosse, Storm soccer, JDL football, baseball and wrestling have all received a reusable bottle as part of their uniform. Athletes are strongly encouraged to use these reusable bottles over single-use plastic at practices and games.

“Every sports season, our trash cans are overflowing with single-use plastic beverage bottles around our fields,” said Chris Greco, PVAA Lacrosse president. “We recognize that recycling is only a small part of the solution and by providing our PVAA athletes both education and alternatives (to plastic), we are creating awareness and making changes for the better of the planet.”

Partnering with local organizations like Flagler Health+ is a key component of the Reusable Bottles for Sports program. Local partners cover the cost of the bottles and donate them to a local school or sports team through this Beaches Go Green effort.

“Flagler Health+ stands behind our commitment to advancing the physical, social and economic health of Northeast Florida communities,” said Carlton DeVooght, SEVP CAO of Flagler Health+. “Supporting the Reusable Bottles for (youth) Sports program is another way that we can reinforce the importance of caring for our planet and our own health.”

There are multiple goals for the BGG Reusable Bottles for Sports program. The first goal is to create awareness in the community about single-use plastic pollution. The second objective is to inspire a change in personal habits by encouraging reusable items over single use. Third, and perhaps most important, BGG aims to protect children from the potential harm chemicals in plastic can leach into human bodies.

“We recognize that drinking and eating from plastic not only has health implications for the planet, but it can have serious effects on our own health,” said Anne Marie Moquin, founder of Beaches Go Green. “Plastic leaches chemicals into our food and drinks when it’s heated or as it breaks up into microplastics. These chemicals, often found to be endocrine disruptors, mimic hormones in our own bodies and can be especially harmful for adolescents.”

Reducing single-use plastic consumption and pollution is an important step toward preserving our health and saving our planet for future generations.

The nonprofit Beaches Go Green aims to create awareness and education around the waste humans produce and how it impacts the planet.

If interested in getting your team involved in the program or to sponsor a local team, email annemarie@beachesgogreen.org. For more information on Beaches Go Green, go to beachesgogreen.org.

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