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Refuse the plastic!

November 12 to December, 2018

#TakeBackTheTap Poster

About the Exhibit

The #TakeBackTheTap exhibit was created by Humber's Office of Sustainability and the Lakeshore Grounds Interpretive Centre. For more information about the exhibit, continue reading below to Meet Spyro, experience a Timeline: The History of Water as a Commodity, learn about Alternatives to single-use plastic bottles, and discover more with Beyond the Bottle.

Interpretive Centre team:

Jennifer Bazar, Curator

Nadine Finlay, Assistant Curator

In Partnership with:
Humber Office of Sustainability

Meet Spyro!

Spyro is a wooden frame in the shape of a whale's tail  that was designed and constructed by the Office of Sustainability's Bradley Staite as part of their #TakeBackTheTap awareness campaign. The 8' tall structure was filled with empty single-use plastic water bottles that were collected at Humber College. 

From the Office of Sustainability:

"We designed Spyro the Whale to educate people about the threat plastic poses to the health of our entire planet. Discarded plastic bottles from the Humber community make up the plastic inside Spyro, which is less than 1% of the total amount of plastic bottles that Humber disposes of annually. The #TakeBackTheTap campaign aims to reduce the consumption of bottled water and encourages our community to use reusable bottles while drinking tap water from refill stations instead."

Why "Spyro"?

Whales are typically named for the distinct patterns on their tails. Bradley selected "Spyro" based on combination of the spiral shape of the structure and the Spyro the Dragon video game he used to play. 

Timeline: The History of Water as a Commodity

Natural Spring Water Infographic











Natural spring water is sold in glass bottles for the first time

Demand for clean drinking water rises after chlorination of Toronto's municipal water reduces waterborne epidemics

Bottled water is sold in hard polystyrene plastic bottles for the first time but remains expensive

Invention of new polyethylene (PET) plastic makes bottled water affordable and popular

Bottled water companies earn $4 billion annually by appealing to consumers' demand for health and status

International leaders set goals to reduce plastic pollution in the midst of an environmental movement

PepsiCo and Nestle identify tap water as the source of their bottled water

The U.S. government reduces the maximum amount of plastic allowed in single-use bottles by 47%


The Ontario government stops issuing new permits to bottle the province's water


Eleven Ontario post-secondary institutions successfully ban bottled water on their campuses

Humber Hawk with Spyro

What about Alternatives to Plastics? 

Did you know that plastics do not decompose? Conservative estimates indicate that the common plastics in our world will take hundreds of years to degrade.

450+ years to degrade

500+ years to degrade

200+ years to degrade

450+ years to degrade

10+ years to degrade

Single-use polyethylene terephthalate (PET) water bottle. 

Try carrying your own reusable water bottle!

Polyamide (PA) toothbrush. ​

Consider switching to a bamboo toothbrush!

Polypropylene (PP) straws. 

Try reusable straws made from glass, metal, or bamboo - or ditch the straw altogether!

Plastic cutlery.

Try carrying your own reusable cutlery with you for on-the-go snacks and meals!

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) shopping bags.

Avoid that extra 5 cent charge on your groceries by bringing your own reusable bags!

Beyond the Bottle

What can we do with all the single-use PET plastic water bottles already in existence? As part of the #TakeBackTheTap exhibit, we came across several companies who are repurposing those bottles for use in new products. The information below is accurate as of December, 2018.


Ungalli Clothing Co. donated a tshirt to the #TakeBackTheTap exhibit that was made from 10 recycled PET plastic bottles. Our sincerest thanks to this Canadian company for their support!  

Adidas' Parley running shoes are made from 11 recycled PET plastic bottles. 


Oraki's stretch leggings are made from 12 recycled PET plastic bottles. 


10 spools of Gütermann's polyester thread is made from 1 recycled PET plastic bottle. 


Each pair of shoelaces from allbirds is made from 1 recycled PET plastic bottle. 

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