Moose Jaw, Sask. students aim to recycle population’s worth in plastic bags

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Moose Jaw students aim to recycle population’s worth of plastic bags
WATCH ABOVE: Moose Jaw high school students collecting plastic bags to keep them out the landfill – Apr 1, 2019

It’s no surprise that plastic bags litter landfalls across the country, but one school in Moose Jaw, Sask., is trying to change that.

Since March, students at Peacock Collegiate High School have been collecting single-use plastic bags as part of a national competition.

The contest encourages classrooms across Canada to collect and recycle plastic bags to prevent them from entering landfills.

One-by-one, students count and stack off the bags which will eventually be shipped to the U.S. and recycled into reusable materials.

READ MORE: North Okanagan could ban plastic bags

“I thought it was crazy at first,” student Blaze Baillee said. “Then as we started collecting them I thought it was a good idea just to get them out of the environment.”

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Their campaign has been so successful they’ve upped their collection goal to 35,000, which is a bag for nearly every person in the city.

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Stephen Lys, a teacher at Peacock Collegiate, says the students plan to take their message to city hall.

“What we would like to see is the bags removed from the city entirely,” Lys said.

This isn’t the first time high school students have pressed the city to ban single-use plastic bags in the hopes of following other Canadian cities.

READ MORE: Moose Jaw group pursuing plastic bag ban

Victoria, Fort McMurray and Montreal are among a handful of cities in Canada that have banned plastic bags.

The city says they’ve reviewed the feedback, but have yet to commit to a ban.

“It’s something we do continue to monitor and we do have a recycling program in the city,” communications manager Craig Hemingway said.

Smaller cities like Moose Jaw and Prince Albert accept them in blue recycling bins, but larger centres like Regina and Saskatoon don’t.

READ MORE: Whale dies after 80 plastic bags found crammed in its stomach

It’s up to the recycling company contracted out by each city to decide whether or not to accept the bags and sell the material.

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The youth are hoping to lead the way as they push the city to become the first in Saskatchewan to ban the bag.

“We’re just a small town of 35,000 people trying to make a difference,” Lavallee said.

The school will be accepting plastic bags from the community until mid-April.

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