Single Use Plastic – A Documentary
Even though many people, including large companies and schools, have been trying to reduce the quantity of single-use plastics, a lot of this movement was halted over the Covid-19 pandemic. For some time, stores stopped allowing items like reusable coffee cups or reusable grocery bags due to the worry of spreading germs and there was an increased use of things like plastic gloves, convenient pre-packaged snack, and other items that could be thrown away quickly after only one use due to risk of contamination. These items do not biodegrade and they break down to settle in our environment including in our forests and our water. In addition, people do not dispose of these items properly and they end up in our natural environments. We would like to educate our school community about the impacts of plastic waste and help them find ways to reduce their plastic footprint. Our initial goal was to do workshops in the primary classes, create school-wide announcements and use social media, like our school Blog, to spread awareness. We also hoped to sell alternative items, such as reusable zipped bags, metal and silicone straws and other items but we plan to implement that part of our plan in the new school year.
We began by visiting our local natural environments, including Sugarbush Pond, Sugarbush Heritage Park and Sagecrest Pond. We did a survey of what types of plastic waste we could see before we engaged in a group clean up. While the primary students were eating snack one day, we collected data on how many pieces of plastic waste were in their lunch bags and what the most common items were. Now that we had all of our data, we began to research the harmful effects of plastic waste on the environment and alternatives to the commonly used items we found in our survey. We then planned our workshops for the primary students so we could educate them and raise awareness of some of the different choices they could be making. We engaged the grade 2 and 3 students in a small workshop. First we had them visualise the beauty of their local forest and pond. We then took them for a walk to the Sugarbush. Students were given a small bingo card to identify all of the waste they could see. They were amazed at how all of the items they regularly used could be found in the forest and at the edges of the water! We took them back to school and delivered our workshop. Students were able to discuss their hopes for the future and come up with some actionable items to help make a change. Our next step is to sell items to our school community to replace the most commonly used single-use plastics including reusable zipper bags and water bottles with the school logo but this has to wait for the new school year.
Check out our video here!