A Bag's Life campaign a lesson in 3Rs
Galveston Daily News • April 27, 2015
By Johnston Farrow
Starting on America Recycles Day in November 2014 and concluding on Earth Day on Wednesday, students across Galveston made a tremendous environmental impact. Schools from Galveston ISD, as well as private and charter schools, combined to collect and recycle more than 680,000 bags as part of A Bag’s Life program. The initiative aims to teach children about the three Rs — reduce, reuse, recycle — during a fun competition with other schools.
Clean Galveston, the nonprofit organization dedicated to the beautification of Galveston Island, partnered with the A Bag’s Life organization and Trex, a composite decking company that specializes in products made from 100 percent recycled material, to kick off the campaign in 2014. Schools placed 330,000 more bags into recycling bins at campuses than the 350,000 total collected last year.
Congratulations to Parker Elementary and Crenshaw Elementary and Middle School for being named the big winners for 2015. Parker won for the most bags collected by a school with 148,000 collected. Crenshaw, with 150 students, won for the most bags collected per student with over 576 bags per student! Both schools win park benches made from recycled plastic (provided by Clean Galveston and Trex) plus a flag naming them “Galveston’s Greenest School 2015.” AIM College and Career Preparatory won the big prize in 2014.
“This project is amazing,” said Kristin Bingley, Special Education teacher at Parker Elementary, who organized the winning A Bag’s Life drive at the school. “It really brought the school together. It gives kids something to be proud of and we’ve even used it as a motivational tool when teaching students about responsibility and helping others.”
Schools went all in for the second year with many offering free dress to those students who brought a certain amount of bags. Coastal Village Elementary, which collected 94,000 plastic bags, offered the class with the most bags a Popsicle party. Crenshaw joined forces with the local grocery store to help collect bags on Bolivar Peninsula to earn top prize.
“The kids were pumped about it,” Bingley said. “We passed out a flyer at the beginning of the year, and kids went home and told their parents about it. Every Monday, you’d see a spike because students would save their bags over the weekend.”
This year also saw the expansion to private and charter schools to make A Bag’s Life a truly island-wide (and Bolivar Peninsula) competition. Clean Galveston awarded O’Connell Preparatory Academy $250 to its library for the best decorated recycling box. Holy Family Catholic School, with only 114 students, gathered 28,000 bags alone.
It makes sense for schools on the Gulf Coast to teach lessons on recycling and environmental friendliness. Improperly disposed plastic is the cause of thousands of deaths among marine life each year. If there is one thing families in Galveston can rally around, it’s keeping our home and our waterways clean.
Johnston Farrow is the Communications Specialist for Galveston ISD and Chairman of the Clean Galveston Education Committee
Photo caption: Congratulations to Parker Elementary, pictured here, and Crenshaw Elementary and Middle School for being named the big winners of A Bag’s Life competition that encouraged local public, private and charter schools to recycle plastic grocery bags and other plastic material. Parker won for the most bags collected by a school with 148,000.