Having kids recycle plastic bags by making mats for homeless people solves two problems. One solution is that oceans are kept cleaner, as plastic bags do not end up in the ocean. The other solution is giving homeless people a lightweight and durable mat to sleep on, instead of having to always improvise. Plastic bags repel parasites, which solves another problem for people who sometimes sleep in the streets or in public areas.
Two high school marine science classes at Newark Charter School answered one question: “What form of ocean pollution could you have an impact on?” The answer was having 5,000 bags become sleeping mats for homeless people.
Tami Lunsford’s classes engaged in project based learning, looking into what advocacy they could do, and what project they could take on. After researching microplastic beads, fertilizer runoff, bottle caps, sunscreen, and oil, they decided to go with the plastic bag project. Within a few days, they had 5,000 bags to work with.
Students began cutting the bags into strips, and then braiding and weaving them together. It took about three hours to cut 150 bags, and the project is taking them longer than expected. However, they intend to persevere, and have asked for help from National Honor Society students. It will take a few months to complete the project.