- Grade 7
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According to conservingnow.com, approximately 1 trillion plastic bags are used per year. Those plastic bags take 10-1000 years to biodegrade. Even then, it doesn’t biodegrade like a banana peel, it breaks down into tiny pellets which are put back into the soil or consumed by animals. To add, plastic releases toxins and those toxins are in our air. So why do people choose plastic bags? Simple, it's convenient, it's easy and we don't think of the effects it's causing. The fact is once the plastic is used it has nowhere to go. This means that nature and animals are being harmed. This is our earth and we need to respect it more. Take a second and don't think "it's just one bag" because even one bag is adding to this crisis. Of course, just by spreading awareness can be enough, but we decided to take it a step farther. We did not only spread awareness, we made alternatives for plastic produce bags. Eco-Bagz is our project and we are taking on climate change one reusable produce bag at a time.
We proudly make our own Eco Bagz using donated upcycled fabrics. Our hope is that people will use these reusable produce bags instead of the plastic bags found in grocery stores. Even the Vancouver plastic ban is not banning produce bags. About 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gases are released every year from textiles. By reusing fabric fewer emissions are released and it makes her bags even more eco-friendly. Each bag it's only $2 which makes it cheap and convenient because most people carry a toonie with them.
Plastic is useful but unnecessary. It has a big carbon footprint and is made from crude oil. Crude oil, also known as petroleum is a yellowish-black liquid found in geological formations beneath the Earth's surface and like any oil isn't good for the environment. Of course, people will mention biodegradable plastic, but is it really better? No, it is not, "biodegradable plastic" doesn't actually biodegrade. In 6 months it breaks down into little pellets just like regular plastic but in a shorter amount of time. To make it "biodegrade" in a shorter amount of time more chemicals are used to make the plastic. Using plastic or biodegradable plastic is not the solution. Plastic does not get recycled, but when you return it to a Depot it gets melted and renewed. When plastic gets melted it releases even more toxins into the air. Even though this is better than having the plastics sit around, it is still on our Earth. Plastic might seem convenient when you first use it, but it will be around doing damage for a lot longer than you realize.
A way we took action is we had a booth at John Oliver Secondary School’s Zero Waste Fair! We had a booth but had low hopes in the beginning but as more people kept flowing in sales spiked and we had made over $125 by the end of the day. Another thing we did was set up a booth at our school John Henderson Elementary's Scholastic book fair. We were not as successful and only sold 4 bags. We also took action by contacting Superstore and Buy-Low Foods. The manager at Buy-low was very enthusiastic about our project. So, we met up with the store manager and she told us to set up our booth on the 29th. The manager also suggested that we had different sizes for our bags. On Instagram we reached out to some accounts for advice and actually got useful responses and we also made our own Instagram account @eco_bagz_. We made a website as well, but it is still a work in progress. Many people already bring reusable bags to groceries to store their groceries. So why not bring reusable produce bags to help save the Earth.
Making bags is not easy. From our recent experiences, we have learned it is a long and tiring process. In the end, it's well worth the effort. To make bags you need fabric and that is where our biggest problem began. We were determined to reuse all our fabric, but that started to get harder as we went along. We emailed and called some fabric stores and they either didn't reply or didn't have scraps. After a week of trying, one store that is willing to donate to our project. Now, you might be thinking buying fabric is way easier why reuse? We chose to reuse fabric because it reduces the amount of textile pollution. Just like plastic textiles also pollute the earth, so along with not using
plastic, we decided not to buy fabric either.
We believe our project did make an impact in our community. From the 40 sold so far, we have seen people using them instead of Ziplocs or other single-use plastic items and that is only from our grade 6/7 classes. We believe if we can sell throughout our community, we can reduce the amount of plastic in our community.
In the future, we plan to continue what we are doing. To begin, we will be selling in front of Buy-low on the 29th. Getting spots to sell in front of stores is not very complicated and is something we will do again. Secondly, we will continue to make bags even though we won't have class time anymore. Lastly, if we win a prize we will put the money toward investments. For example, we will use that money to hire someone to make bags for us to further develop our initiative. We also will use the money to make Eco-Bagz bigger than just a stand. We would do something online and perhaps offer to have our bags as a product in stores, as well as create a sell our bags online from websites such as ebay, and amazon. We also have talked to our school secretary who said she would be able to promote our initiative and our products on our school website. We plan to continue our project just as we have been doing.
Eco-Bagz has proven to become the project we dreamed of. It's devolved to be more of a school project and has evolved into a brand. In our community it has proven to be useful and on Instagram our message has been spread farther. Eco-Bagz is doing our part in being the change and helping people to be apart of the change.
One green plant