Did you know that plastic bags account for about 3% of the average household garbage bag in Halton?
Concerned about the number of plastic bags being buried in the landfill, students in the Futures Program at White Oaks Secondary School, Oakville, decided to “take action” and create reusable bags to help reduce waste.
A unique program for high school students with intellectual and physical exceptionalities, the Futures Program encourages academics, life skills development and community participation.
Metro Green Apple School Program provided the Futures Program’s Entrepreneurial Studies class with funding to help create reusable bags.
“We are trying to make about 100 bags,” said Alyssa. “I love to sew. It takes about half an hour to sew one library bag,” exclaimed Tina, who enjoys working on the bags with Educational Assistant Ms. Karbonowska.
The students then use masking tape and stencils to paint colourful, environmental shapes on to the bags. “I like the bright red leaf,” shared Jhovonne. Another student, Claire, created some of the artwork for the class.
Three different styles of bags are being created. “The library bag has a pouch to store your library card,” said Dallas. There is also a reusable bag for grocery shopping, and a larger tote bag.
Students discussed why the 3Rs — reduce, reuse, recycle — are better than burying waste in the landfill. “I’ll be 46 when the landfill is filled up!” exclaimed Jhovonne, after hearing the Halton Waste Management Site will reach capacity in 2040, if more isn’t done to minimize garbage.
The Futures Program students, along with Leadership student Emily, also want to educate their peers about the importance of reducing plastic bags and using reusable bags. They’ve created a display in a cabinet at the front of the school, and hope to visit other classes to share their knowledge.
If you are interested in purchasing a reusable cloth bag made by Futures Program students, please email teacher Ms. Annis. “My family has already bought two bags,” said Garrett.
The Futures Program has been demonstrating their commitment to the environment for a number of years.
“White Oaks’ North Campus has been certified an Ontario EcoSchool for the past three years, most recently at the Gold level,” said teacher Ms. Annis. “We are also very proud to have won three Regional Chair’s Environmental Awards recognizing our work. Students also participate in the Halton Children’s Water Festival, leading an activity for elementary students and helping with the Festival’s recycling and composting.”