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St. Patrick Erinsville wins plastic bag grab challenge in Ontario

June 26, 2017

Students throwing up plastic bagsCongratulations to St. Patrick C.S. (Erinsville) for receiving first place in Ontario in the 2017 Plastic Bag Grab Challenge.

The school will be awarded $1,000 that can be used toward an environmental project or initiative. This prize will be received in early September. 

 "We are thinking about adding paths through our forested school grounds, adding trees to our yard, or adding plants to our food garden," says Kaleb Walker-Maleska, a grade five student. 

 "For a bigger project, we are thinking of adding a nature study area or a no-mow zone, which is an outdoor space that is left to grow into a rich space that increases biodiversity over time.  A space like this can be used for science and studying different plant and animal species," says Brandon Emmons, an intermediate student.

By collecting 3260 bags, St. Patrick C.S. diverted 26.1 kilograms of plastic from landfills and waterways. The plastic bags will be recycled domestically into new products, such as plastic lumber and outdoor furniture through TREX, the world's largest manufacturer of wood-alternative decking products.  Students collected bags by reaching out to their community through social media, neighbourhood walks, the local parish, and drop off locations at local businesses. 

"It was amazing to see how the students created community involvement.  As a gold-certified EcoSchool, I wasn't surprised at how serious they were about collecting as many bags as possible," said Dave Rooney, the junior-intermediate teacher at St. Patrick C.S.

This year, 541 schools from across Canada collected 2,339,717 plastic bags for recycling, and engaged their communities on the importance of the 3Rs hierarchy – reduce, reuse, and recycle – through this challenge held by the Recycling Council of Ontario.

Written by Dave Rooney, the junior-intermediate teacher at St. Patrick C.S.

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