Putting an End to Plastic
Our vision for Canada is one where Canadians make it a habit to use environmentally sustainable projects. We want to live in a country where people avoid using damaging plastic products that do not biodegrade. These products are a threat to wildlife in the rural area we live, and because we are a series of coastal communities, it is likely that our plastic waste will make its way into the ocean where it will damage marine life. We want our community to remain one that is associated with nature and natural beauty. To further this vision, we decided to tackle plastic waste at the local grocery store.
We met with the manager of the local grocery store, the Co-op, who was on board with our project to reduce the use of plastic bags. We then collaborated with a construction tech class to have them build a large wooden box. After painting the box, we delivered it to the store where it is used to hold cardboard boxes near the checkout so that customers could use these instead of plastic bags. We also bought 300 cloth bags and gave away many of them on Earth Day while bagging groceries for customers. In addition to this, we designed and ordered custom-made bags that are labelled: “Burrowed Bags, Please Return to Co-op.” When these bags come in, we will leave them at the front of the store for people to use if they forget their own cloth bags. Finally, we bought some glue and paint to design our own bags for smaller items that students need, like gym clothes.
Reflection & Celebration
Most elements of the project went well, as we had the support of the store manager. The only significant hurdle we ran into was that our custom bags were sent to the wrong address, so we did not get them as soon as we had hoped. We plan to ensure the ongoing sustainability of this project by continuing an education campaign with the local grocery store and by having enough bags to give out more at Earth Day next year. We also plan to track the number of plastic bags the store uses each year and to work on continuing on finding ways to reduce it to as close to zero as possible.