Fifth Graders Across F-M Area to Take Part In Plastic Bag Challenge

They will bring in as many plastic bags as they can to be recycled

Schools across the F–M area are competing to be more sustainable with the Plastic Bag Challenge.

According to the Plastic Bag Task Force, the average person uses 250 bags each year, and that’s something they want everyone to cut back on.

“Introducing these ideas when they’re kids… it’s something they bring up to their parents, something they talk about, something that’ll hopefully follow them as the years progress,” Darla Lewandowski with the Clay County Plastic Bag Task Force said.

Fifth graders will bring in as many plastic bags as they can, and whichever school brings in the most will get a prize.

“We’re super excited to have this opportunity, because kids recycle everything here. It is the kids who lead it. There’s pop bottles, paper, cardboard, they’re like, ‘let’s take it to the recycling bins,'” Carla Smith, principal at Horizon Middle School West, said.

The winning school will get a bench made from recycled materials engraved with the school’s name. The challenge even aligns with education standards.

“Environmentalism and the impact of human beings on the environment is part of that curriculum K–12,” Smith said.

Instead of putting your recyclables in plastic bags, the MinnKota recycling facility says you should take those cans directly to the recycling bins and save them the trouble of having to separate the plastic.

“When they come to our facilities our guys actually have to go through and open every single one of the bags before they can be run though. It creates a lot of problems, gets caught up in the equipment, and just delays the process,” Mary Aldrich, sales manager for MinnKota, said.

Plastic bags should not be put in trash cans or recycling bins.

“That gets down to dollars and cents so let’s use our sense and make sure we’re not sending any recyclables in bags,” Aldrich said.

Plastic bags can be taken to grocery stores to be recycled, and people are encouraged to use reusable bags.

As for the Plastic Bag Challenge, the task force is aiming to reach 100 pounds. They say one trash bag stuff full of plastic bags is about six pounds.

“If mom and dad are putting the stuff in the recycling, getting it out to the bin, or taking it to a local recycling center, that’s where they learn it. So this is another opportunity here at school for us to reinforce that,” Smith said.

The Plastic Bag Challenge will run from February 1st to the end of March. Winners will be announced during Earth Week in April.

Categories: Local News, Minnesota News