Waterloo students "going green" with reusable bags, book - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waterloo students "going green" with reusable bags, book

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Each year around the world, we use around 500 billion plastic bags.  It's estimated that just one of those bags can take up to 300 years to degrade in a landfill.  That's why some area elementary students are making it their mission to get more people to consider renewable options.

A plastic bag floats in a tree outside Lowell Elementary School in Waterloo.  Sights like that got some students at the school thinking about the impact littering can have on the environment.

"Of course it ends up getting into the waterways and eventually the ocean.  Then the birds and other animals can get caught in it or get sick from eating it and ingesting it," said Stacey Jambura, Lowell teacher.

That's why students in Jambura's expanded learning program classes decided to do something about the plastic problem.

"We wanted to make a difference," said student Caleb Akins.

Together, third, fourth, and fifth graders have started an environmental campaign.

"A man picked us up and hooked us on a rack especially made to hold plastic bags like us."

Those are words from the book The Day I Got Thrown Out:  Diary of a Plastic Bag, which the students wrote and illustrated.  In addition, they've collected 600 t-shirts, which are being made into reusable grocery sacks.

"First we need to put it inside out and then we need to cut the sleeves off... And we sew the bottom," Akins said.

All these t-shirt bags will be sold at an environmental awareness event students are hosting next month.

"It astounds me that they came up with wanting to make such a difference in their community at such a young age," Jambura said.

Now, the students are hoping to expand their recycling and "go green" efforts district-wide.  That way, their classmates and the community can become more aware of the effects their actions, good and bad, can have on the environment.

Lowell Elementary's community wide environmental awareness event is just around the corner.  It's set for Saturday, February 11 from Noon to 3 p.m.  Students will have educational displays and games, and you can purchase copies of their book and the reusable bags.  All proceeds will be donated to ocean clean-up and marine animal rescue organizations.     

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