Students found plastic alternatives for many products such as plastic bottles and plastic bags. Here are some of the products that the eighth graders at Bush found alternatives for.
Plastic bottles: Some students had decided to reduce the amount of plastic bottles that they use in their everyday lives. Students found some alternatives for plastic bottles such as using reusable water bottles. Students used the reusable water bottles for everyday use as their alternative. Other students used chemical free plastic water bottles so when they need to be thrown out they can be put into the recycle.
Plastic utensils: One student and his family put the time and effort into washing plastic utensils so that they would be reusable. Another student purchased inexpensive, reusable metal utensils to cut down on their family’s consumption of plastic.
Plastic Ziploc bags: When students brought lunches to school in zip lock bags they found after they had finished they would throw away the plastic bag and go on with their day. To eliminate the Ziploc bags, some students packed their lunch in Tupperware or reusable plastic containers and then reused the container. Also, on one of the Experiential Week camping trips, students reused their Ziploc bag for their lunch the entire week. These two efforts saved many plastic bags and helped our efforts to reduce plastic use.
Plastic shopping bags: Every year, Americans use approximately 1 billon shopping bags; that creates 300,000 tons of landfill waste (cleanair.org). Students in our class wanted to reduce the amount of plastic bags that they use on an everyday basis. Students found alternatives for plastic bags such as reusable fabric bags. They used the reusable fabric bags as grocery shopping bags to haul items in.
Toothbrushes: Most students at The Bush School use disposable toothbrushes for dental hygiene. These toothbrushes consist of plastic material which cannot be recycled. To reduce this consumption of plastic, some students decided to buy a reusable toothbrush handle that fits with disposable brush heads. Others decided to use an electric toothbrush where you still replace the toothbrush head, but it lasts longer than most of the inexpensive plastic toothbrush heads.
Pens: At The Bush School, students are consistently using cheap throw away pens which are not recyclable. These pens contain plastic material and ink which causes it to have to be put in the garbage. Students also lose these pens frequently and some pens may be dropped outside and become litter. Street litter often washed into storm drains and ends up in Puget Sound. To stop this students have decided to keep track of these plastic pens, and they have decided to find refillable fountain pens that can be reused and are also recycled.
Plastic BBs: Another unique way that a student was able to reduce his plastic consumption was by reducing his plastic use with a very specific item. This item would be known as an “airsoft gun”, which is a plastic toy gun that shoots plastic pellets. This student decided that his way of reducing his plastic consumption would be to start using biodegradable pellets which would take about 2 months to degrade versus the 9 months-1 year time that it would take for a non-biodegradable plastic pellet.
These are just some of the very simple and easy ways to reduce your plastic consumption. We hope that you consider using our ideas. If we can take simple and easy steps like these in our everyday lives, together we can reduce the amount of plastic that we consume. There are many more creative ways to use recyclable or compostable and re-usable items for everyday purposes. If we all try these simple steps to becoming more environmentally friendly we will have much less plastic winding up in bodies of water and on beaches. This is important because plastic pollutes these bodies of water and can kill important and endangered wildlife.
Written by Adam, Chris, Jack, Max, Leeds, and Jackson with additional input from Maya, Aubra, Yamina, and Abby in the Eighth Grade Science Class of The Bush School.