Plastic Bags Be Gone

  • Location
    Ashtabula, Ohio
  • Status

The Problem

Ashtabula Area City Schools, particularly the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students, have been working on becoming more sustainable and even created a sustainability committee to address environmental issues in our school and community. One of the big problems the students saw was that there was no recycling program in our school as well as a very confusing community recycling system that needed more clarification. Our school uses styrofoam trays at breakfast and lunch and the students wondered why they weren't recyclable even with the triangle on the bottom. They did not like that hundreds of trays were thrown away and added to our landfill each day! The students in our school, along with their teachers, were able to get a recycling program started in the school and worked with the Assistant Director of Community Services and Planning to get 2 recycle bins donated to the schools for the community to use as well. The director explained to students why some things are recyclable in this area and why they are not. Students will be working on ways to get out into the community to educate the public on what is acceptable to recycle. In addition to this recycling program, students continue to be guests at city council meetings explaining the plastic pollution problem and their new focus is on banning plastic bags in the county by switching to reusable options. (They are working on convincing our school treasurer to purchase reusable lunch trays or compostable options as well. It hasn't happened yet, due to funds.) Students would like to do demonstrations outside of stores, showing the public how to up-cycle old t-shirts into reusable bags that can be used right away in that store. The only down side is that these t-shirt bags do not hold much in them. Our students would like to provide and sell larger sustainable canvas bags, designed by students, to promote awareness of the importance of reducing plastic usage and switching to reusable bags that will help our environment. We all would like to see less bags on the sides of the roads, stuck in trees, and in our nearby Lake Erie and many rivers that can harm wildlife.

Our Plan

Students will need to contact the local newspaper, radio station, and hang up flyers to advertise to the public of when and what stores will be providing demonstrations by our students to up-cycle t-shirts to make reusable bags. This way, people will bring their own shirts to the event. We may also need to provide some of our own shirts for multiple demos. Students will start working on their designs and vote on their favorite design to be printed on the larger canvas bags that can be sold at these events. We feel that people will be more apt to use the larger bags in the store because it will fit more of their groceries and other purchases than the little t-shirt bags that we make. Regardless, people will be given two options that can curb them from the use of plastic bags. We also would like to try and sell the bags to our own school families to get even more out there in people's hands. The more bags we can have printed and in the hands of community members, the cleaner our community will be!

Themes Addressed

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    Community Enhancement
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The Benefit

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