They thought they had it in the bag. But a campaign to collect plastic bags that fell short was still a big win for the environment and students at a Moncton-area school.
Students at Bessborough School in Moncton recently set a lofty goal to collect thousands of plastic shopping bags for recycling as a school environmental project.
But according to grade 7 student Zander Tower, 12, his classmates hopes were crushed at the result.
“I was a bit disappointed,” said Tower.
The students had originally hoped to collect 60,000 bags for recycling but they only managed to collect 15,00 bags.
Tower said many of the families at the school have stopped using plastic bags entirely.
“Plastic doesn’t just dissolve into the ground,” he said. “Plastic stays forever and hurts animals and hurts the ocean.”
The trend displayed by families at the school is echoed in the results of a recent survey conducted by the tri-communities of Riverview, Moncton and Dieppe along with Eco360, the local waste management facility.
It found that 74 per cent of people surveyed were using cloth reusable bags
“I think it is good now that people are using less plastic because it really affects our planet” Tower said.
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Other cities such as Halifax are now considering imposing a ban on single-use plastic bags. The municipal council of Moncton will soon be voting on the matter.
The students at Bessborough support the idea and are also coming up with creative ways to also reuse thicker plastic bags to keep them out of the landfill.
Their advocacy also extends to more than just the environment
“We are making care packages out of plastic bags for the homeless around Moncton and we are giving them out and they are filled with clothes and socks and shampoo and stuff like that,” said Emmy Dolan, 12.
Tower, also involved in the care package program, said, “It makes me feel good knowing we are not just throwing the bags away and we are helping the homeless;”
Bessborough School is even launching a new litterless-lunch campaign aimed to discourage the use of plastic wrappers.
It’s something that the students’ teacher, Venessa Poirier-LeBlanc, supports as a means of raising awareness.
“We need to start doing that so people know how much waste is going in the garbage,” she said.