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Project Plastic

2012 October 9

My name is Abby and I am a student in Grayslake, Illinois.   As a seventh grader, I am required to start a C.P., which stands for culminating project.   It is a two year project with a goal to better the world we live in, positively impact our environment and community and show all that we have learned in the nine years at an environmentally focused school.   I chose trying to get the Village of Grayslake to ban plastic shopping bags.   I wanted to do this because I love animals and I saw a picture of a sea bird with a plastic bag around its neck.   I also live within a mile of a landfill and saw that on windy days, the employees put up extra fencing to catch HUNDREDS of bags.   Soon, my school project led me to more information on the dangers of plastic bags, a better understanding of my government and a feel for what activism is about.

It started with research –like all projects do –and contacting other towns that have had similar bans.  I wrote a research paper, as well as letters to editors of local papers and politicians.   The environmental issue surrounding plastic bags is more complex than just littering and the harm they cause animals.   There’s a possibility that the chemicals used to make the bags damages our soil. One day I studied my local grocery store for two hours counting how many leave just one checkout lane.    There were 175 plastic bags used, some with only one item in them!

Finding out that many communities, states and countries were successfully banning the bags, I was excited.  I thought it would be easy to convince my village to ban bags with numbers, pictures and examples.   It would be an exciting project to convince the adults that we wanted to ban the bag!   I even contacted a video producer who made an awesome video called Plastic State of Mind.

Just as I was beginning to start, it suddenly became an issue about choice.  The Illinois legislature passed SB3442, a Senate bill that would bar any community from banning plastic bags, in June 2012.

I’m 12 years old and I can’t vote, so how do I fight bill SB3442?  How do I get people to listen?  My project just seemed to grow more difficult.  Stay tuned for what happens next.

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5 Responses leave one →
  1. Laura permalink
    October 9, 2012

    You have done fabulous work so far, and I support your efforts 100%! Keep moving forward with all that you are doing. At 12 years old, you are wise beyond your years!!

  2. mags keane permalink
    October 10, 2012

    Hi Abby, well done to you.This is a great project and it will brng awareness of the damage plastic does to the environment to alot of people. I’m living in Ireland and we have a levy(tax) on plastic bags.The shops charge 22cents for every bag and this money is used towards environmental issues. The majority of people use reusable bags here now because of this. If every country did this it would make a huge difference.
    You are correct in saying that the issues of plastic is alot more complex and the damage to our soil is a huge one.
    I’ve attached some sites you can look at to help with your research:
    Did you know? The average single-use bag is used 12 minutes before being released as pollution in the environment or waste into the landfill. Less than 5% of plastic bags are actually recycled.
    Best of luck with your project, keep us all posted!
    kind regards,
    Mags Keane,

  3. Gustavo permalink
    October 13, 2012

    Hey, you should start a facebook or twitter account

    • abby goldberg permalink
      October 17, 2012

      I did!!! You can find me on

      Please follow and spread the word!!!!!

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