EcoChallenge – Windermere Elementary School

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Our class EcoChallenge came at the same time as there was much discussion in our community and the broader Canadian community about single use plastics, in particular plastic bags. The challenge we came up with was to create a bin for a local grocery store to implement in their store as a “Take a Bag, Leave a Bag” program.

The idea came as many stores moved toward banning plastic bags from their store, and wanting to offer the community another alternative to purchasing a paper bag or reusable bag that was still free. We were able to put together our bin, and begin discussions on how the bin would be decorated before March Break. We were planning on decorating the bin, collecting donated reusable bags, and installing the bin in the store after March Break. Although the second portion of the challenge did not happen due to the disruption of classes, we would still like to make it happen in the new school year if possible.

One success that did come out of this project was when we were searching for a grocery store to be on board with the program, one of the stores approached decided to implement it on our behalf! They created their own bin, with credit to our class, and installed it in their store right away. It is currently not in service due to health concerns, but we are confident it will be available again in the near future.

Both the students and teachers were very excited about this program and the benefit it would have for our community. We had all heard lots of complaints about being forced to purchase bags at stores, we thought this would be a great opportunity to help foster the change for a more sustainable future.