Letters: Fourth-graders tackle plastic waste

Johnson City Press • Apr 10, 2019 at 6:00 AM

Last week, our Question of the Week asked about plastic waste and how we should properly deal with it. Ashley Academy fourth-grade teacher Scott McIlquham asked his students to write answers to our question, and then sent them to us. We’ve printed some here and will share more later in the week.

A few suggestions from a kid

My name is Atticus (Yes, my name is from To Kill a Mockingbird) and I am a student from Ashley Academy. Our fourth-grade class read your article titled “What should we do with our waste plastic” ​as a class; and we thought it was a very fine, interesting piece.

As a class, we thought that maybe we could all write one letter, each individually, to send to you journalists. I know that you guys are expecting responses from grown-ups; but, for a change, we decided that it is time for children, kids, like us, to do things like this.

Some of the possibilities that we could try to reduce waste plastic are: #1: It might cost a bit of money, but we ​could ​take things like Ziploc bags and plastic straws and pull them apart, one atom at a time, and then put those molecules back together to make something else, like those little 100% recycled cardboard-ish bowls that you put your peanuts in at Five Guys. Recycling, am I right guys? #2: Reduce. Why don’t we just not use plastic at all, use glass or something like that. #3: Get rid of plastic straws. We could use bamboo, glass, stainless steel, paper, biodegradable plastic, or no straws at all, bring your own! #4: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. That concludes the possibilities that I thought of.

These could be some very useful alternatives for us. For your information, glass is the #1 alternative to plastic. I enjoyed writing to you folks.


Reduce, reuse, recycle

My name is Sophia and I heard from my teacher that we need to do something with the plastic. We (humans) are killing everything: air, plants, animals etc. We need to REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE.

Reducing: we should make paper straws or metal spoons and forks and they need to return the metal spoons, forks, knives, or bring their own. In stores we need one big cereal box and people to bring their own boxes to fill their boxes, stop using plastic. Reusing: the people can figure that out and when they can’t use it anymore, recycle it. This year I heard about a bacteria (Ideonella sakaiensis) that eats plastic in weeks or months (normal plastic bottles at stores). It is not hard; it is inconvenient (discomfort). Maybe if the people don’t want do do that we might have to raise taxes but no one wants that for people to sort our junk .

We need to stand up and take care of the world! No more cute, cool sea creatures should die because of the plastic. People, hear the call of mother nature (and the creatures of the world): REDUCE! REUSE! RECYCLE!


Open zero-waste stores

My name is Shannon, I am ten years old, I am a fourth-grader. You have been asking, what should we do with our wasted plastic? Can we make changes to our recycling practice to reclaim and reuse it? What changes should we make in our consumption to limit the amount of plastic waste we produce? I am going to try my best to give you suggestions about your questions because I am concerned about the world and how animals are dying because of people’s waste. Plastic has only been around for about one hundred and twelve years and that is enough years for us to hurt the animals and the world with it. If we can’t figure out what to do with the wasted plastic then we should just not make things that can’t be recyclable in the first place. Some changes that we should make in our consumption to limit the amount of plastic wasted is that we should build one of those zero waste stores where you have to bring your own cloth bags, glass bottles and other kinds of things. I think that this would be a great idea because we won’t have to throw away grocery bags that may end up in the ocean where an animal might eat it and die. I hope that you will be satisfied by my answers and I hope that you will be able to convince others to agree with the things I wrote about.


Recommended for You

    Johnson City Press Videos