The Plastic Problem Eco Challenge

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School:  Rossland Summit

The problem: Students at RSS were throwing Plastics into the garbage.

The Solution: Students made bins to Recycle Plastic containers and plastic bags.

Sounds simple right? Well, it all started when the Gr. 5/6 class were amazed during the Garbology lesson. So much plastic was in their garbage, 12 000 cubic cm, or 12 L of plastic in just 2 days to be exact. Big Problem! The students then did a random school garbage audit to find out exactly what types of plastics were being tossed. The results were shocking, so the students came up with some great questions for the Waste Field Trip where the class visited the Alpine Recycling Center. After this experience, they had what they needed to really focus on actions for a solution. Students designed their own plastic recycling bins to place throughout the school. They divided and conquered on tasks such as meeting with the principle, speaking with the recycling pick-up personal, having a meeting with PAC for requesting a plastic washing station in the new cafeteria plans, and finally presenting to each class in the school on Tips and Tricks on how to recycle plastics. The biggest road block on this action project was the cleaning of plastic containers BEFORE they go into the main bins for pick up. These students currently volunteer their time to clean containers if needed so they can be recycled. Such dedication and commitment! This Eco Challenge project was concluded by showcasing it at the school wide Winter Gala. This allowed all the parents to be educated on the problem and how they can help be a part of the solution. Focusing on REDUCING the amount of plastics being sent to school in lunches, REUSING plastic containers and Ziploc bags, and finally RECYCLING any plastics at the school AND at home. The students feel that the order of the 3 R’s is vital in making a difference, I would have to agree! Currently this Eco-Challenge has diverted 120L of plastics from the landfill (in one month). Way to go Mrs. O’Malley’s Gr. 5/6 class!