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Collecting 3,000 Plastic Bags

Students stand in front of all the bags collected Kindergartners in the classrooms of Jamie Cinelli, Molly Evarts, and Jill Zobel just completed a very impressive Community Service Project.  While they were learning about Earth Day and the oceans of the world, the students discovered that there was a very big problem.


Plastic bags are being left everywhere and are causing a huge problem for our environment.  We read the book “The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss and we were inspired by the quote, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” and we decided we wanted to do something about it.


Around the same time, there was an article in The Buffalo News about an organization called Mats for a Mission. This organization collects plastic bags, turns them into plarn, and then crochets them into mats for homeless people in our community. We thought it would be wonderful to team up with this organization to do a plastic bag drive where we were able to keep plastic bags out of the landfills, forests, and oceans and into the hands of someone who could recycle them and put them to good use.


Mats with a Mission guest Students lie on plastic bag mats A few days later Gail Potter from Mats for a Mission came to Smallwood and showed our students how the mats were made and even brought in a sample for us to try out. She told the students that they are worried about having enough plastic bags in the future since New York state has banned them at grocery stores. After that meeting, we were sold. We definitely wanted to help Gail. 


We began our work by making posters to hang around school, flyers to send home to families and a commercial to air on the Smallwood Friday announcements. 


During our drive, students counted the bags into piles of 10 and then bundled the piles of 10 into piles of 100.  We were able to collect and count almost 3,000 bags!  The students were so excited and we couldn’t be more proud of their hard work and commitment to this project.


Students sit in front of collected bags   Students count plastic bags   Students flatten bags