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Country School 6th graders continue to build momentum with the Madison Chamber of Commerce’s Turn the Tide on Plastic initiative, including working with Robert’s Food Center to eventually eliminate single-use plastic bags. This collaborative art piece, crafted from plastic bottle caps, is intended to raise awareness by encouraging shoppers to eliminate single-use plastic bags. Pictured here are student Michaela Troy, Robert’s Food Center owner Bob Fusco, student Ryan Hustis, Robert’s Manager Zach Fusco, and students Rosie Liu and Tanner Weiss. (Photo by Teresa Sullivan )
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Students at the Country School are taking what they learn in the classroom and trying to make Madison a greener place to live. Partnering with organizations and businesses in town, students are trying to reduce the number of single-use plastic bags in town and educate people on the damage plastic can do to the environment.
The Turn the Tide on Plastic program is a Madison Chamber of Commerce initiative. Introduced in fall 2018, the initiative is a voluntary effort in town to get households, schools, and businesses thinking about plastic usage and waste.
Sixth grade students at the Country School have taken up the challenge and are working to help eliminate the use of single-use plastic bags in town. Student Ryan Hustis said this issue is very important to him and his classmates.
“This project got started last year when our 5th grade teacher showed us a 60 Minutes special on the Pacific [Ocean] garbage patch and some of what we saw was just really eye-opening...to see that it is twice the size of Texas,” he said. “Since then we have really been working to combat the issue, because it is going to affect us and not in a good way.”
Students have engaged in many different activities to support the initiative, including making a scarecrow for the scarecrow contest out of only single-use plastic items. Student Michaela Troy designed a reusable bag, and students have been writing letters to different stores asking them to consider eliminating single-use plastic bags. Robert’s Food Center in North Madison responded.
“We have had two meetings with Robert’s in North Madison,” said Hustis. “More recently we were very excited they were working toward eliminating plastic in the store by the end of the year so they are just getting through their pre-order of plastic and then they are switching to three different sizes of paper bags.”
Students said they hope to see more stores eliminate plastic because student Rosie Liu said this is a problem that will just keep growing.
“By 2050 the ocean is going to have, pound by pound, as much plastic as fish,” she said.
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