Kids’ green team aims to curb plastic bag usage |

Kids’ green team aims to curb plastic bag usage

summit daily news
Summit County, Colorado

BRECKENRIDGE ” Reusable silverware, compact-fluorescent light bulbs or even a solar-powered vacuum cleaner are among ideas kids at Upper Blue Elementary are brainstorming for proceeds of a reusable bag fundraiser.

“We try to make the planet green and reduce, reuse and recycle,” said third-grader Dylan Rose.

He and about 14 other students from preschool to fifth grade participate in the Breckenridge school’s green team. They used a $700 grant from Copper Mountain Ski Area to purchase 200 reusable bags, which have been sold at school events to promote eco-friendly living.

“(Disposable plastic bags) end up in animals’ bodies, and the animals start to die and extinct,” said second-grader Claire Ciserella.

The students sold the bags for $5 each, netting about $400 toward a green cause, as stipulated by the grant agreement, said Liz Burnette, who teaches first grade and coordinates the team.

But the students aren’t just making a difference through reusable bags. They’re also picking up trash, turning out lights, making recycling bins and planting vegetation.

“We made posters that said to recycle and hung them up all around the school,” Dylan Rose said.

They also sent a letter to the Summit Daily encouraging reusable bags.

“Did you know that Americans use approximately 380 billion plastic bags in one year, and that it takes 12 million barrels of oil to produce the plastic bags we use every year,” according to the letter.

For Earth Day last week, the team handed out stickers and mini-Earth keychains to every student and teacher at the school.

As for what motivates an elementary student to take green action, responses vary.

“Arctic animals are dying because people are doing too much bad stuff,” said first-grader Gabe Rothman.

“I wanted to recycle (and) do more with helping Earth and picking up trash and reusing and ” everything,” said second-grader Abril Butler.

The students have even come up with a means for cutting down on noise pollution, the green clap: similar to a normal clap, but with the pinkie fingers rather than the palms.

Robert Allen can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or

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