Submitted by Kenyan C.
Northern & Northeastern CO
My name is Kenyan C. and a problem I discovered in my community, Berthoud, was the amount of plastic litter we have. Plastic is such a huge issue in our modern world, it does much more bad than good. Did you know that Americans use 100 billion plastic bags a year? And for all the damage a plastic bag causes, like harming wildlife, ecosystems, our atmosphere, natural beauty, and so much more, it is only used for 12 minutes. That bag also sticks with the earth for more than 1,000 years, due to it being non-biodegradable.
Our plastic pollution is at alarming levels and to fix that I believe that everybody must do their part. I’m trying to do mine by reducing the amount of plastic we as a society use. To tackle that goal, I’m taking it one store by store. For my Silver Award project, I proposed a presentation to my local grocery store, Hays Market, in Berthoud. Now, lots of research and planning went into it and I came out with a slideshow about the types of plastic pollution, how it harms the environment, and how to resolve this issue.
On Friday, September 27, 2019, I presented my slideshow to the owner of Hays Market, Neal Hays, before school. He heard what I had to say and appreciated how much research and effort went into the causes I believe in. However, he would not limit the amount of plastic bags the store stocks. Neal said that he hoped that Colorado would follow after California and Hawaii and ban disposable plastic bags. But, we also had to look at it from a marketing standpoint. For the wellness of his business, he couldn’t do completely what I was expecting. However, not all hope was lost because Neal believes the motivation to change our community’s ways was not to force them to, but to encourage and educate customers. Along with my presentation, I created a little “leave behind” card to put at check-out registers. These cards tell customers why to reduce plastic bag waste and how. You can make a difference just by bringing your own reusable bags or asking a checker for more information. Neal wanted me to finalize and print more cards so he could put them at checkers.
After submerging myself with the plastic free community when researching, I felt as if I truly understood what state our earth is at and how much plastic is harming our planet. Even if I cant force our town to stop using plastic, I guess I learned not everybody understands where you come from and some people just need to research and make decisions on their own. Slowly people are realizing the consequences and making lifestyle changes, hopefully Berthoud can do that too. But, we don’t have much time. So, if you are reading this, I encourage you to do your part.
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