Last summer, I was reading Beth Terry's book, Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too, and stumbled on a nugget that cried out for girl involvement:
While no organism can digest plastic, there are quite a few animals that are harmed while trying: according to Greenpeace, at least 267 different species are known to have suffered from entanglement or ingestion of ocean plastic debris, including seabirds, turtles, seals, sea lions, whales, and fish.38 Leatherback sea turtles choke on plastic bags they mistake for food; Laysan albatross chicks starve with their bellies full of plastic bottle caps and lighters...
But how can second graders in Indiana make a difference in the world's water? By becoming aware ad learning how recycling can impact our world.
I thought, let's do a plastic project that won't require a lot of space or mess, and will bring to their attention all the plastic that we use.
For a month, the girls were challenged to collect all the plastic lids they could. While we didn't charge them to specifically look for No. 5 plastic, we asked them to look for clean lids from milk jugs, water bottles, soda bottles, prescription bottles, etc. The girls were asked to bring them to the February meeting, with the girl collecting the most winning a water prize (in this case, a "snow" making science kit that we stumbled on at clearance.)
The girls collected more than 300 lids - which, compacted, fits into about a half of a cookie case. The lids will be sent to CapsNCups, based in Evansville, Ind., which collects bottle caps and No. 5 plastic cups to downcycle into an array of secondary products ranging from mud flaps to stadium seats. Even better, since I have family in Evansville, we won't waste the shipping and will just bring the box to them at our next visit.
Need other service project ideas for Daisies or Brownies? Check out previous posts on Christmas shoeboxes and shoe collections for tornado victims through Soles for Souls.