Bag Blog

Spinning a Giant Web and other America Recycles Day Tales

Much like its big sibling Earth Day, America Recycles Day has evolved beyond its single-day roots to become a month-long celebration of environmental stewardship.

Thousands of local events were held across the country in November, ranging from shred-a-thons, electronics recycling, clothing donation drives, prescription drug take-back programs and yes — plastic bag collections!

A Bag’s Life was there to help spread the word, joining with schools, cities, counties and environmental groups in support of their ARD activities. In Pennsylvania alone, 16 plastic bags recycling events were held at Weis Markets across the state, thanks to Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful.

I’m hoping my smiling face and Don’t Treat Me Like Trash message left an impression to recycle not only during November, but all year long.

Thanks for sending your comments to us. Here are a few event highlights:

Gillian Rabalais, right, and Melissa Manus show off their wonderful woven web made from 150 recycled plastic bags.

Gillian Rabalais, right, and Melissa Manus
show off their wonderful woven web made from 150 recycled plastic bags.

In New Orleans, visitors to the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium may have been a little bug-eyed when they saw what greeted them Nov. 17. Aside from the live insects and ecosystems, they were invited to see an amazing gigantic spider web woven from 157 plastic bags.


The web was constructed to educate guests about plastic bag reuse and recycling, capping off an “awesome” America Recycles Day, according to Gillian Rabalias a volunteer coordinator who helped organize the whole knotty event.


Guests to the facility were invited to make “bugs” from other recyclables to place in the enormous web. And they took home goodies provided by A Bag’s Life as reminders that it’s easy to recycle plastic bags and wraps at local retailers who take them back.


“We were pretty proud of the web,” Gillian told us. “It was definitely a huge talking point for our guests.”


In Grand Prairie, Texas, just west of Houston, students at Barbara Bush Elementary School collected more than 5,000 plastic bags and wraps as part of a weeklong hands-on science project.


Using materials from A Bag’s Life and Hilex-Poly’s Bag-2-Bag recycling program, teachers spent time doing mini-lessons on the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle concepts that revolve around plastic bags and wraps. They also threw some math into the mix.


“As items were collected through the week, grade levels graphed their data and added student writings to reinforce the environmental impact,” said Instructional Strategist Stacey Ansley. “A little friendly competition encouraged student participation.”


The items were collected and taken to the school’s partner, Kroger, which also donated gift cards to support the event. It all coincided with Family Night, where parents also were given recycling tip cards and other goodies. The Kroger donation also provided a special treat for the top-collecting class.  


“This was a wonderful effort and a perfect example of how we can and should integrate our environmental education lessons into our core subjects,” commented Program Facilitator Tracy Hollis. “It is walking the walk with our students and giving them opportunities to be leaders in the community and to become service oriented adults!”


The city of Grand Prairie also offered two thumbs up for the program.


“This type of activity is what we dreamed for when we first started the Green & Clean Campus program,” said Tammy Chan in the City Manager’s Office. “All the participants will be more sensitive to litter prevention, litter collection and recycling.”


Across the state, that should be good news to educators in Corpus Christi, where a five-month plastic bag and wrap collection competition between schools was launched on America Recycles Day. Ending on Earth Day 2013, the campaign aims to educate students, parents and teachers about the importance of recycling plastic bags and wraps.


The competition has the backing of the City of Corpus Christi, Texas Retailers Association, Trex Company and A Bag’s Life.