A situation came up at The Lesson Machine / Lesson Mag office recently that put us in a bit of a conundrum. It got me thinking about how many of us might be contributing to serious environmental problems in spite of all our classroom recycling efforts. Read on to find out what happened, how we responded, and join in the discussion of how you can address the same issue in your own classroom.
Having switched to bamboo and stainless steel drinking straws some time ago, it’s been some time since any plastic ones made it across our doorstep. However, my husband is going to school full time right now to become a science teacher, and a recent model he was required to build and photograph required plastic drinking straws. They needed to be certain colors, so the small packs were out of the question. Off to the party supply aisle we went, purchasing a large box of several different colors suitable for this particular science model.
While we accepted that it was a necessary purchase and we were going to have to deal with the fact that it was counterproductive to our plastic reduction efforts, the excess straws left us with a quandary. Toss them or use them?
In the end, we decided if they were going to end up in the landfill anyway, they really should be used before we toss them. For purposes of this article however, I pose the following questions:
- How many other teachers are using straws instead of sticks for student-created puppets? I know I have in the past.
- How many of those little foam decorations are necessary for art supplies when paper scraps and fabric remnants would work just as well?
- What simple changes can we all make in our selection of classroom craft materials to help reduce our overall consumption of supplies (namely plastic) that don’t biodegrade safely?
Sound off below, and be sure to add a link in your comment to any online article or image you may have posted of your particular idea, lesson or project. Related Reading: 8 Simple Ways to Reduce Plastic in the Classroom.
Photo Credit: Respres