[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he students at Terra Environmental Research Institute have put a different spin on Earth Day. Their slogan “Earth Day Every Day,” focuses on the things that we humans can actually do to make the earth a greener and healthier place to live. Realizing that neither Miami Dade County Public Schools nor Dade County recycles plastic #5 (polypropylene), some of the students at TERRA began a recycling program of their own.
The ninth grade gifted students in Mrs. Hibbitt’s English classes have been collecting plastic #5 for the past several months. Their goal was to draw attention to the fact that millions of pieces of plastic are tossed into landfills and the ocean each day. The primary targets of the students’ collection was Starbucks and other fast food restaurants that serve drinks in plastic # 5 cups and do not have a plan for the recycling of their products. In fact, Starbucks labels the garbage bins in at least one of their stores, “Landfill.” These ninth grade students have collected nearly eight thousand pieces of highly recyclable polypropylene. They have sorted the plastic into bins, strung plastic curtains and created works of art to demonstrate to their fellow students how ubiquitous plastic is on this earth. The collected plastic will all be recycled properly at the following locations: The ECOMB recycle bin on Miami Beach, a non- profit organization that recycles all types of plastic, Broward Community College which collects and sends plastic to Terracycle to raise money for a student scholarship, and Trash to Treasure, a non-profit organization in Ft. Lauderdale that provides reusable materials as artistic resources to teachers.
The students in Mrs. Hibbitt’s English classes have researched the facts about the different types of plastic and have made a huge effort to encourage their families to recycle plastic. Their projects demonstrate the need for proper recycling of all plastics, especially polypropylene which ends up in the world’s landfills and oceans forever. The students realize that something must be done in the near future about the proliferation of plastic and its disastrous effects on the planet. Their sculptures, made entirely from everyday polypropylene products, are visual reminders that Every Day must be Earth Day. Recycle responsibly.
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