Sin eng-12 - reduce usage of plastic bags
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  • 1. ContentsIntroduction------------------------------------------------------ 2Why DFC?Background Research--------------------------------------- 3-19Referencing past efforts to promote recyclingMethodology---------------------------------------------------- 20-22PreparationAction WeekImpact and Reflections--------------------------------------- 23People who were impacted by our campaignThoughts and reflectionsAppendix and Acknowledgements--------------------- 4-31AcknowledgementsSurveyResultsAnalysis 1
  • 2. Why This DFC Journey? Introduction Even though we had not chosen DFC at the beginning and had beenallocated to the challenge, we still found the Challenge very meaningful.We believe it is the simple and yet, inspiring ideas that actually motivatedus to enjoy this project. We could do simple things and influence the peoplearound us about our worries and causes. The objective of our project was to reduce the usage of plastic bagsand promote the usage of other types of bags. We felt very strongly thatplastic bags are grossly overused, this can especially be seen insupermarkets, where they give the bags out freely. A weekly shopping tripwould easily get you 20 bags. In our project, we used newspaper bags that are easy to make andrather strong to replace plastic bags that are not environmentally friendly.The newspaper bags were biodegradable and would not harm theenvironment, thus it was a very suitable substitute for their harmful plasticcounterparts. We used the newspaper bags in our school bookshop, sothat we will be able to reach out to our peers and inform them about thedetrimental effects of plastic bags on Mother Earth. We did this for about aweek, and most people were supportive of using these bags instead ofplastic bags. We also set up a Facebook page as we feel that the internetis a better platform to entice youngsters. 2
  • 3. Background Research For the research section of the project, each of us actually searched fordifferent sources on the internet. Each of these sources provided us withdifferent information that we need for our project. Some provided us withstatistics regarding the use of plastic bags while others stated the harmfuleffects of excessively using plastic bags. From these sources, we found out that using plastic bags excessivelyhas resulted in a huge accumulation of plastic wastes. This will not onlyaffect wildlife, but will also affect human health. The millions of tons ofplastic wastes in the worlds oceans are breaking down and releasingtoxins posing a threat to marine life and humans. Plastic wastes in landfillssink in harmful chemicals into groundwater. These chemicals aredangerously absorbed by humans and will cause serious health concernssuch as altering hormones. Plastic debris is also ingested by hundreds ofspecies, choking and starving them. All of these consequences indicate that using plastic bags excessively isa very serious problem and should be resolved immediately since it iscausing harm to both the environment and us. In order to solve the problem,firstly, we can reduce plastic waste by looking for products and packagingmade from renewable resources. Other than this, we should also chooseproducts that have the least amount of disposable parts like toothbrusheswith replaceable brushes. Consuming less will decrease the waste ofunnecessary plastics. Secondly, we can also recycle plastics. This will helpto reduce the production of plastics and hence, the amount of plasticwastes. Thirdly, we can reuse preferably nontoxic containers and goods tomake less waste. Lastly, we can also help to improve the situation byeducating others about the suggestions listed above and why the excessiveuse of plastics is dangerous. Out of all these solutions, we chose to educate the public about the harmcaused by the excessive use of plastic bags and promote the use of eco-friendly paper bags because unlike the other solutions, it will affect a largernumber of people, instead of just us. 3
  • 4. Articles on Plastic Bags and the use of bio-degradable bagsPlastic shopping bags, carrier bags or plastic grocery bags are a common type of shoppingbag in several countries. These bags are sometimes called single-use bags, referring tocarrying items from a store to a home. However, reuse for storage or trash (bin bags) iscommon. According to the UKs Environment Agency, 76% of carrier bags are reused. Anestimated 90% of individuals reuse plastic bags, and 56% of individuals reuse all plasticshopping bags. Heavier duty plastic shopping bags are suitable for multiple uses as reusableshopping bags. Plastic shopping bags are made of polyethylene. This can be low-density, resinidentification code 4, or most often high-density, resin identification code 2. Most plastic bagsare derived from natural gas.Biodegradable materialsAlthough not in use today, plastic shopping bags could be made from Polylactic acid (PLA) abiodegradable polymer derived from lactic acid. This is one form of vegetable-based bioplastic.Bags can also be made from degradable polyethylene film. Most degradable bags do not readilydecompose in a sealed landfill and represent a possible contaminant to plastic recyclingoperations.Environmental concernsAccording to Vincent Cobb a seller of reusable bags, each year millions of discarded plasticshopping bags end up as litter in the environment when improperly disposed of. The sameproperties that have made plastic bags so commercially successful and ubiquitous—namelytheir low weight and resistance to degradation—have also contributed to their proliferation in theenvironment. Due to their durability, plastic bags can take up to 100 years to decompose.Asthey slowly decompose, plastic bags break into tiny pieces and leech toxic chemicals into soils,lakes, rivers, and oceans.On land, plastic bags are one of the most prevalent types of litter in inhabited areas, becomingan eyesore to local residents. At their worst, plastic bags can clog drainage systems andcontribute to flooding, as occurred in Bangladesh in 1988 and 1998.When plastic bags arewashed out to sea, they pose a threat to animal life. In the decades since plastic bags first cameinto wide use, there has been a dramatic increase in the quantity of plastic bags found floatingin oceans around the world. Once in the ocean, these bags can strangle wildlife or, if ingested,can choke or cause wildlife to starve to death. Some marine animals including sea turtles, anddolphins have been killed as a result of ingestion of plastic marine litter, including plastic bags.Littering is often a bigger problem in developing countries, where trash collection infrastructureis less developed, than in developed nations, however once plastic bags are swept out to seathey can travel long distances in ocean currents.Reuse and recyclingHeavy duty plastic shopping bags are suitable for reuse as reusable shopping bags. Lighterweight bags are often reused as bin bags (trash bags) or to pick up pet faeces. All types ofplastic shopping bag can be recycled into new bags where effective collection schemes exist. 4
  • 5. Since internet rumours started to claim that the Environmental Protection Agency had reportedonly 1% of plastic bags were recycled, significant attention resulted in a 700% growth in therecycling industry as new capacity led to a 7% rate. This resulted in more than 800 million lbs ofbags and other film being recycled in 2007 alone.Bag legislationPlastic bags are either restricted or completely banned in more than 25 percent of the world.Belgium, Italy (total ban since January 1, 2011), Ireland and Hong Kong have legislationdiscouraging the use and encouraging the recycling of plastic bags by imposing a fixed orminimum levy for the supply of plastic bags or obliging retailers to recycle. In other jurisdictions,including three states and territories of Australia, Bangladesh, South Africa and Thailand, plasticbags are banned.In the United States bans were imposed on local level, starting with San Francisco in 2007. In2008, Westport, Connecticut banned plastic bags in grocery stores. In 2009, Edmond,Washington banned plastic bags at retail stores. In 2010, Los Angeles County, Brownsville,Texas, Bethel, Alaska approved similar bans. In the first few months of 2011, bans went intoeffect in North Carolina’s Outerbanks Region, banning all plastic bags at all retailers. Similarbans on municipality level were imposed in India, Mexico and UK.The plastic bag levy introduced in Ireland in 2002, resulted in a reduction of over 90% in theissuing of plastic shopping bags, the total reduction in plastic bag use was less than that due toincreased use of commercial trash bin-liners in place of the free shopping bags previously usedby many consumers. Sales of bin-liners have increased by 400% according to one industrysource. The "ban on free plastic bags" in China introduced in 2008 resulted in a reduction bytwo thirds. In the United States, the five-cent tax levied on plastic bags in Washington, DC in2010 resulted in a decrease in consumption from 22.5 million to 3 million bags in the first monthalone.Many cities and states in the United States - including California, New York, Chicago, Delawareand Baltimore - have addressed bag litter and landfill by enacting new recycling laws.Source- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plastic_shopping_bagPersonal reflection: This article tells us how plastic bags are formed and that they are non-biodegradable. Even though there are biodegradable bags, they are not used. Plastic bags canpoison or suffocate marine animals as they are marine litters. Also, plastic bags will turn intotoxic wastes that will pollute soil and water after a long time. This article also shows that somecountries have imposed taxes and bans on plastic bags. In Singapore, this is not very common.However, in IKEA, customers have to pay 10cents for each plastic bag but this is definitely notenough to cope with the huge amount of usage of plastic bags in Singapore. 5
  • 6. Are Plastic Grocery Bags Sacking the Environment?John Roachfor National Geographic NewsSeptember 2, 2003The "paper or plastic" conundrum that vexed earnest shoppers throughout the 1980s and 90s islargely moot today. Most grocery store baggers dont bother to ask anymore. They drop thebananas in one plastic bag as they reach for another to hold the six-pack of soda. The pastasauce and noodles will get one too, as will the dish soap.Plastic bags are so cheap to produce, sturdy, plentiful, easy to carry and store that they havecaptured at least 80 percent of the grocery and convenience store market since they wereintroduced a quarter century ago, according to the Arlington, Virginia-based American PlasticsCouncil.As a result, the totes are everywhere. They sit balled up and stuffed into the one that hangsfrom the pantry door. They line bathroom trash bins. They carry clothes to the gym. They clutterlandfills. They flap from trees. They float in the breeze. They clog roadside drains. They drift onthe high seas. They fill sea turtle bellies."The numbers are absolutely staggering," said Vincent Cobb, an entrepreneur in Chicago,Illinois, who recently launched the Web site http://Reusablebags.com to educate the publicabout what he terms the "true costs" associated with the spread of "free" bags. He sellsreusable bags as a viable solution.According to Cobbs calculations extrapolated from data released by the United StatesEnvironmental Protection Agency in 2001 on U.S. plastic bag, sack, and wrap consumption,somewhere between 500 billion and a trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide each year.Of those, millions end up in the litter stream outside of landfills—estimates range from less thanone to three percent of the bags.Laurie Kusek, a spokeswoman for the American Plastics Council, said the industry works withits U.S. retail customers to encourage recycling of plastic bags, which are in high demand fromcompanies such as Trex in Winchester, Virginia, for use in building materials."We also feel it is important to understand that plastic grocery bags are some of the mostreused items around the house," she said. "Many, many bags are reused as book and lunchbags as kids head off to school, as trash can liners, and to pickup Fidos droppings off the lawn."But like candy wrappers, chewing gum, cigarette butts, and thousands of other pieces of junk,millions of the plastic bags end up as litter. Once in the environment, it takes months tohundreds of years for plastic bags to breakdown. As they decompose, tiny toxic bits seep intosoils, lakes, rivers, and the oceans, said Cobb. 6
  • 7. Plastic FantasticThe Film and Bag Federation, a trade group within the Society of the Plastics Industry based inWashington, D.C., said the right choice between paper or plastic bags is clearly plastic.Compared to paper grocery bags, plastic grocery bags consume 40 percent less energy,generate 80 percent less solid waste, produce 70 percent fewer atmospheric emissions, andrelease up to 94 percent fewer waterborne wastes, according to the federation.Robert Bateman, president of Roplast Industries, a manufacturer of plastic bags—includingreusable ones—in Oroville, California, said the economic advantage of plastic bags over paperbags has become too significant for store owners to ignore. It costs one cent for a standardplastic grocery sack, whereas a paper bag costs four cents, he said.Source-http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/09/0902_030902_plasticbags.htmlPersonal reflection : Although this article focuses mainly on US, I think it can apply toSingapore as well. Between 500 billion and a trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide eachyear. The last sentence is very crucial. It says that plastic bags appeals to consumers morecompared to paper bags as they are cheaper. Hence, this is one of the factors that leads to theover-usage of plastic bags.Why waste plastic bags? Choose reusable bags!News Release No: 2/2006Date of Release: 11 February 2006The next time a cashier asks if you would like a plastic bag for your purchases, pause to thinkabout whether you really need it.Many of us readily accept more plastic bags than is necessary to bag our purchases. Many ofthese plastic bags end up in the trash - or worse, flying off as litter into a drain somewhere.Plastic bag litter is not only unsightly, it is also a potential breeding site for mosquitoes andcreates other environmental problems.To promote conservation and minimize wastage, a national campaign to discourage theexcessive use of plastic bags has been launched. Instead of using plastic bags, we encouragepeople to bring their own bags - or use reusable bags when they shop.Singaporeans use about 2.5 billion plastic bags a year for bagging their purchases - or anaverage of 2,500 bags per family, per year. These 2.5 billion plastic bags translate collectively to19,000 tonnes or 0.8 per cent of the total waste disposed of in Singapore annually. 7
  • 8. In many countries, used plastic bags are landfilled. This is not the case in Singapore where landis scarce. Used plastic bags are incinerated along with all other waste, and generate electricityin the process.Although the disposal of used plastic bags is not an issue for Singapore, the liberal issue andunnecessary use of plastic bags should be discouraged.We are not suggesting to do away with plastic bags altogether, as they can be used to bagrefuse and then be disposed of in our incineration plants. said Lee Yuen Hee, Chief ExecutiveOfficer, National Environment Agency. But we want our people to use reusable bags as far aspossible, and to take only as many plastic bags as they need, thereby cutting down onwastage.Mr. Yatin Premchand, Senior Manager, Singapore Environment Council added, our purpose isthree-pronged: apart from discouraging wastefulness, we want to promote sustainability bymoving away from the single-use and disposable mentality towards that of maximizing the utilityof everything we use, and protecting the environment. In the urban context, plastic bags canend up as litter, and in the natural environment, plastics have a strong tendency to suffocateplant and marine life. Continuous education is key.To address this, NEA set up a working group comprising major supermarket chains, retailers,Singapore Retailers Association (SRA) and Singapore Environment Council (SEC). Participatingretailers include Carrefour, Cheers, Cold Storage, Fairprice Xpress, Foodland, Giant, Guardian,IKEA, Liberty Market, Market Place, NTUC FairPrice, Prime Supermarket, Sheng Siong, Shop NSave, and 7-Eleven.These retailers will make reusable bags available for sale at low prices. All the participatingretailers will make these reusable bags available at the launch of the campaign (except forNTUC Fairprice stores, which have limited reusable bags as their new shipment of these bagswill arrive only in Mar 06). Participating retailers will display publicity materials such as standees,wobblers and posters to raise public awareness. They have trained their cashiers to askshoppers if they need a plastic bag where appropriate. To give the campaign a further boost,the retailers are also introducing incentives to encourage shoppers to use less plastic bags.Executive director of SRA, Ms Lau Wei Chuen, said, this campaign is a partnership betweenretailers and consumers. It is an opportunity for retailers to give back to the environment byproviding greener alternatives and {helping consumers live a sustainable lifestyle. In manyoverseas retail markets, traders are increasingly offering reusable shopping bags to customers.We and our members feel happy and privileged to be able to do our part.Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, will grace the launch ofthe campaign this Saturday (11 February) at Parkway Parade Shopping Centre.Parkway Parade Shopping Centre was chosen because they had put in place environmentalinitiatives on their own and have a goal of being an environmentally friendly shopping mall. Theywere planning to launch their own reusable bags when they heard about this campaign.We are all consumers in one way or another, and as consumers, we have tremendous powercollectively to make a difference through our decisions - in this case, by choosing to cut waste 8
  • 9. by refusing plastic bags that we dont need and using reusable bags instead, said Victor Tan,Fund Manager, Lend Lease Real Estate Investments Pte Ltd. Parkway Parade is managed byLend Lease Real Estate Investments Pte Ltd and they will be giving out reusable bags on theday.At the campaign launch, besides getting all the above participating / supporting retailers, andindividual retailers within Parkway Parade Shopping Centre to get shoppers to say yes toreusable bags instead of plastic bags, a mini exhibition with games, quizzes and lucky draw willbe held to educate shoppers on the issue. Shoppers will be encouraged to pledge theircommitment to this cause and the results of a series of competitions for schools on the theme ofplastic bag reduction (jingles, photojournalism and pen your quip contests) will also be displayed/ played.Source:http://app2.nea.gov.sg/news_detail_2006.aspx?news_sid=20081014108559433641IMPORTANT STATISTICS : Singaporeans use about 2.5 billion plastic bags a year for baggingtheir purchases - or an average of 2,500 bags per family, per year. These 2.5 billion plastic bagstranslate collectively to 19,000 tonnes or 0.8 per cent of the total waste disposed of in Singaporeannually.1 million plastic bags change hands each dayPublicity blitz involving supermarkets soon to make people use plastic bags less as theyare choking the environmentBy Sharmilpal KaurMORE than one million plastic shopping bags are given out here each day. One researcherestimates that people here use as many as 40 billion bags in a year.While most of the bags are burnt in incinerators, many end up in rivers and swamps, chokingmarine life and strangling mangroves.During a coastal clean-up of the Kranji mangroves last year, the Singapore Environment Council(SEC) found that plastic made up the bulk of the trash collected, forming as much as 65 percent of it. Almost a quarter of this comprised bags and wrapping.SEC executive director Penelope Phoon said: Many plastic bags end up on the coastline,causing serious damage to marine life.This is one of the reasons why the council is gearing up to launch a publicity blitz in June tomake people use plastic bags less. It hopes to get supermarkets involved in the campaign.Some of the proposals for its Bag It drive include introducing biodegradable bags and sellingreusable cloth and jute bags for between $3 and $5 at supermarkets. 9
  • 10. If the project takes off, customers may be able to reclaim the cost of these bags if they returnthem after using them, like they do with shopping carts.The council is willing to go one step further by sourcing for manufacturers of the jute and clothbags, to make it easier for the supermarkets to make the switch.Singapores biggest supermarket chain, NTUC FairPrice, gives out a total of 160 million bagseach year.Cold Storage spends about $2 million each year on the 70 million plastic bags it puts itscustomers goods in.Several grocery shops said that many customers automatically ask for extra bags.Plastic bags are usually used by households to dispose of their refuse, such as food waste, aspokesman for the Environment Ministry (ENV) told The Straits Times.She added: Plastic shopping bags are made of polyethylene and can be incinerated safely atour plants, which are equipped with pollution-control equipment.To combat the problem of excessive plastic bags, Ireland began levying a tax on thesecontainers last month.Asked if the ministry would consider imposing a similar levy, the ENV spokesman said that theministry is not against the use of plastic bags.But she added that ENV would support any move by the retail sector to charge for plastic bags,as this would reduce excessive usage.NTUC FairPrice has no plans at the moment to charge for the bags. A Cold Storage spokesmanadded: We have conducted surveys, and the results indicate clearly that customers will not payfor the shopping bags.Source: http://www.ecologyasia.com/news-archives/2002/apr-02/straitstimes.asia1.com.sg_singapore_story_0,1870,111939,00.htmlPERSONAL REFLECTION: “Singapores biggest supermarket chain, NTUC FairPrice, givesout a total of 160 million bags each year.Cold Storage spends about $2 million each year on the70 million plastic bags it puts its customers goods in.Several grocery shops said that many customers automatically ask for extra bags.” Often whenwe go to supermarkets, we actually ask for an extra bag for goods like seafood or bulky goods.This article shows how Singaporeans refuse to pay for shopping bags. Thus, plastic bags wouldbe the most convenient product for the consumers. 10
  • 11. Industry helps defeat Va. plastic-bag tax billZinie Chen Sampson, Associated Press, On Wednesday 2 February 2011, 2:44 SGTRICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Virginia legislators have defeated a proposal aimed at curbing pollutionand waste by imposing fees on the use of plastic bags, but bill sponsors are vowing to bring theissue up again next year.A measure that would have required stores to charge customers a 5-cent tax on paper bags anddisposable plastic bags died last week in a House of Delegates subcommittee after strongopposition from the retail and chemical manufacturers lobbies."It might be dead this year, but Ill be back like a virus," said Del. Joe Morrissey, D-HighlandSprings and a sponsor of one of the bills, which was combined with another measure. "I thinkits something that really couldnt be more nonpartisan."Del. Adam Ebbin, D-Arlington, said his legislation was an effort to encourage people to changetheir behavior to cut down on waste and benefit the environment. Shoppers who preferreddisposable plastic bags could have opted to pay a nickel per bag."The consumers would have a choice and if they chose to use the throwaway bags, theyd pay avery small fee. So this is certainly a choice," Ebbin said.Retailers would have retained a penny of each bag fee, or two cents if the stores offer customerbag-credit programs. The revenues raised by the fee would have gone to the Virginia WaterQuality Improvement Fund.Morrissey said people of all political persuasions are becoming increasingly concerned aboutplastic-bag litter."People are going to get behind this," he said. "Its sad were not a leader in this."Made of petrochemical derivatives, plastic bags take decades to decompose. Many end upoutside landfills, carried into the air and littering roads and waterways, getting stuck in trees andchoking or strangling animals that swallow or get tangled up in the bags.Plastic-bag manufacturers represented by the American Chemistry Council strongly oppose bagtaxes and bans, saying theyre unworkable and kill jobs, and actively lobby against suchmeasures nationwide. They say they favor voluntary recycling -- but Morrissey and others notethat there arent many facilities that are able to recycle most types of plastic bags.South Africa, Ireland, Denmark and other nations and several U.S. cities have adopted plastic-bag taxes or other restrictions. Several California communities are among those currentlyconsidering whether to adopt similar measures. U.S. retailers have also voluntarily encouragedshoppers to use their own bags by offering a small credit per bag, typically a nickel.Washington, D.C., enacted its 5-cent disposable-bag tax in January 2010. City officials estimatethat before the fee, residents used about 270 million bags a year at grocery and convenience 11
  • 12. stores. The most recent figures showed that residents were on track to reduce usage to about55 million bags, or about 80 percent fewer bags. Retailers, meanwhile, have told city officialstheyve cut down drastically on the number of bags they were buying.The tax brought in a total of $1.9 million for cleanup of the Anacostia River in the first 10 monthsof 2010.Erik Assadourian, a senior fellow at sustainability think tank Worldwatch, said that governmentsand businesses have the opportunity to shape consumer behavior to benefit the environmentand citizens health. Addressing consumption issues comes down to readjusting cultural norms,including the industry-driven idea that disposable bags represent a consumer choice thatshouldnt be taken away."Theres a belief that can be tapped -- that we shouldnt have to pay for a bag. Its ourentitlement," Assadourian said. "The lobbying combined with small grass-roots groups to pushfor the industrys agenda has been effective in working to stop the movement of these bans."If its more difficult for shoppers to get plastic bags, they start rationalizing they dont need themanymore, Assadourian said. What begins as trying to save a nickel, over time, turns into doingsomething because they care for the environment, he said.Source : http://sg.finance.yahoo.com/news/Industry-helps-defeat-Va-apf-2723975093.html?x=0PERSONAL REFLECTION : This is one of the methods to lower the usage of plastic bags.We have to consider factors like consumer’s opinion, plastic bags manufacturers.McDonalds Muntinlupa to ditch plastic bagsMANILA, Philippines - All McDonalds outlets in Muntinlupa will be serving food and drinks onlyin paper packaging.The fast food chain said it has decided to ditch plastic bags and styrofoam in its Muntinlupabranches to comply with a city ordinance that bans the use of said products in commercialestablishments within the city.McDonalds was referring to the Muntinlupa City governments Ordinance 10-1010-109, whichwas enacted mainly to avoid future drainage problems."Upon implementation of this City Ordinance, McDonalds had issued paper packaging to all itsMuntinlupa stores," the fast food chain said in a statement released Wednesday.On top of these, McDonalds said it will recall all styrofoam and plastic materials inside theirstores.Last year, retail companies Ayala Malls, Ever Malls, Hi-Top Supermarket, Isetann Malls, Makro,Robinsons Supermart, Savemore, SM Hypermart and SM Supermarkets have pledged tocharge customers whenever they use plastic bags while grocery shopping every Wednesday. 12
  • 13. Plastic bag makers have expressed concern that they may experience a dip in sales this yearbecause of campaigns that urge shoppers to stop using the said products, BusinessWorldearlier reported.They stressed that plastic products can still be used without harming the environment.Source: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/lifestyle/03/23/11/mcdonalds-muntinlupa-ditch-plastic-bags This is a plastic bag that we came across when shopping in Urban Write. This is also one of the methods to save the environment by producing oxo-biodegradable bags. 13
  • 14. MethodologyWork Allocation:Making of newspaper bags: Ryan Chan, Wu Hao Hsuan.Background Research: Yang Yu Chuan, Wu Hao HsuanContacting Popular Bookstore: Wu Hao HsuanActual Action (Giving out newspaper bags, campaign): Ryan Chan, WuHao Hsuan, Yang Yu Chuan, Zhou Tian YuDocumentation/ Photos: Yang Yu ChuanFacebook group: Ryan ChanTimeline:April-June: Background Research, Design of Newspaper BagsJuly- Making of newspaper bags in bulk, setting up Facebook group,contacting PopularAugust- Carrying out of Action week, documentation, photosResource Management:As our campaign aims to replace plastic bags with newspaper bags, weneed a lot of newspaper. We asked our classmates to bring all unwantednewspapers to school and we collected them the next day.We also needed approval from authority in order to carry out our project.Hence, we contacted Ms Erica Tan and gained her support for our cause.Making use of our lunch breaks, we managed to find time to carry out ourproject in the bookstore. This is more efficient as a lot of student will tend tovisit the store to shop for school needs during their lunch breaks. 14
  • 15. Who were Involved:Firstly, our project is a humanities-based environmental campaign.Therefore, our project needs to start with common people, especially youngstudents who hold the Earth’s future. “We do not own the Earth, we merelyborrowed them from our future generations.” The results of reusingmaterials will only be significant if a large number of people do it. However,no matter how big a project is, it will have to start with a small number apeople. It’s a small step we take towards using materials. Therefore, wegained the support of the Popular Bookshop Staff and Manager, and wegave out newspaper to students, who are our main target.Survey, Interviews, Observations:We conducted a survey during our Action week of 7 days and we observedcertain trends. 63% of students who used our newspaper bags stated thatthey will definitely use newspaper bags if they get the chance to. (In Future)However, 67% stated that the quality of our newspaper bags did not meettheir expectations. This is because the bags are not water-proof and notdurable. We will continue to work on this in future as we experiment withnew materials. Also, 73% of our target students do not recycle proactively.As the impacts of global warming are not that significantly as of now, theseyoungsters do not see the urgency. All the more, our project should beused as a tool to trigger the sense of urgency to reuse and recycle. Moredetails of the survey can be found in the appendix.Action Week:Our action week consisted of different components: 1) Giving out newspaper bags to customers of RI popular bookstore. 2) Campaigning/Explaining to the students about our newspaper bags and the environmental benefits. 15
  • 16. 3) Photography with customers who use our bags. 4) Setting up of Facebook page, to attract youngsters who use the internet often. Customers who used our newspaper bags.When a customer proceeded to the cashier, we would address ourselves and introduceto them our newspaper bags and our cause. Then they can choose to use or not to use(if they only purchased a very small item). After they had made the payment, we wouldproceed to inform them of our Facebook group to stay in touch with the project.Impact:Although the number of people we impacted did not exceed beyond 3-digits, weinfluenced quite a number of people within a short time-span of 7 days.Approximately 140+ people either used our newspaper bags or acknowledged ourFacebook page.Some feedback was: “It is for a good cause but I feel that there is room for improvement”“It is inspiring to see young adults actually doing hands-on work to save the Earth”“ I hope the newspaper bags can be further improved so that they can be used by moreorganizations”.We feel that most youngsters do not recycle actively. However, if there are new andinnovative ideas to motivate them, they are very willing to try out new recycling ideas. 16
  • 17. ReflectionOur project can be considered a success. We managed to meet our objective, whichwas to show our school, RI, the disadvantages of using plastic bags and benefits ofrecycling them. We also gave out newspaper bags, which are more environmentallyfriendly, to RI students who purchased stuff at our school’s Popular bookshop instead ofthe usual plastic bags. The motive of this is to let them adapt to the idea of usingnewspaper bags instead of plastic bags.One of the many strengths of our group is that we possess strong determination andtenacity. We displayed the “I can” attitude clearly and persevered despite our shakystart, when we were still recovering from the shock of being assigned to DFC instead ofThe Future is Wild, which was what we wanted to research on and the reluctance towork on DFC. We soon adapted to it and came up with this idea of recycling plasticbags.We can improve on our project by improving on the design of the newspaper bags. Wesurveyed the students which used the newspaper bags, and some of them felt thatthere were no handles, thus making it difficult to hold the newspaper bag, especially if itis very heavy. Others felt that the newspaper bags were not strong enough and is torneasily if the contents are heavy. Thus from the feedback, we can improve on ournewspaper bags by adding more layers to it and adding newspaper handles.We learnedmany things from this project. Firstly, we learnt more about the different limitedresources on Earth, such as crude oil, which is used to make plastic products such asplastics bags. We were also informed of the disadvantages to us humans once thisresource runs out. Secondly, we learnt of the ways to recycle these limited resources,such as replacing plastic bags with newspaper bags. These 2 aspects allow us topresent a strong argument for humans to recycle plastic bags.In conclusion, this project was a very meaningful one for us. It helps us to find ourstrengths and weaknesses, so that we can continue our good points and improve on ourbad points. It also helps us to learn more about the Earth and especially its resources,and teaches us how to recycle them. 17
  • 18. Acknowledgements: Our teacher mentor: Mrs Ramesh Mrs Cheryl Yap for giving us support and motivationMs Erica Tan (Manager of Popular) for allowing us distribute our bags. Popular staffs for helping us introduce our product to customers. Family and friends who supported us and gave us feedback. Everyone else who have helped us in one way or another. 18
  • 19. Appendix (Survey) DFC Say No To Plastic Bags SurveyPlease answer the following questions truthfully.Q1) Would you use newspaper bags instead of plastic bags? Yes/NoQ2) Do you recycle proactively? Yes/NoQ3) Do you think that the quality of the newspaper bags are good? Yes/No(If Yes, skip Q4)Q4) Please specify the areas in which the newspaper bags needimprovement on.___________________________________________________________Q5) What is your opinion of using plastic bags/newspaper bags?____________________________________________________________Q6) Will you ask for plastic bags even if you are purchasing small itemssuch as pens?____________________________________________________________ 19
  • 20. Appendix (Results)Question 1: Would you use newspaper bags instead of plastic bags? Q1, NO, 11, 37% Q1, YES, YES 19, 63% NOThis shows that many of our respondents are willing to use newspaper bags instead of plasticbags if they are available, which also shows that most of them do not normally useenvironmentally friendly bags because they are not available for free at most shops. Hence, ifwe were to expand our project, we will know that most students will be supportive of ournewspaper bags, increasing feasibility. Of this project 20
  • 21. Question 2: Do you recycle proactively? Q2, YES, 8, 27% YES Q2, NO, NO 22, 73%Most of our respondents do not recycle proactively, yet most of them claimed that they will useour newspaper bags. This shows that our campaign had been successful in influencing thecommunity in the sense that we have been able to change the majority of their mindsets andtheir views on recycling. 21
  • 22. Question 3: Do you think that the quality of the newspaper bags is good? Q3, YES, 10, 33% Q3, NO, 20, 67% YES NOCustomers have given us valuable advice on how to improve our bags:Make a handle.Make them waterproofMake them more durableMake more bags of different sizes 22
  • 23. Q5) What is your opinion of using plastic bags/newspaper bags? This question was to find out whether our campaign was successful and what theirthoughts toward our cause are. Some common answers include: 1) Good motivation and effort 2) Needs to find more alternative materials 3) Hands may be dirty after touching newspaper bags. 4) Good environmentally friendly effort 23
  • 24. Q6) Will you ask for plastic bags even if you are purchasing small itemssuch as pens? Q6, YES, 3, 10% Q6, NO, YES NO 27, 90%This question narrows down our range of bag sizes. According to this pie chart, the vast majorityof students do not need a plastic bag for small items. Hence, we can be more efficient by cuttingdown on the amount of small newspaper bags made. 24
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