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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Solstice RTC, Layton, Utah, USA

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Solstice RTC, Layton, Utah, USA
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Registered: November 2017
City/Town/Province: Layton
Posts: 1
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Eco-friendly Lunch Bags
I attend a residential treatment center for girls called Solstice. Every Friday, approximately 58 brown paper lunch bags are used every week. Production of paper bags all over the world involves cutting down 14 million trees every year. Solstice was contributing to that by using around 3016 bags per year. It is estimated that the production of paper bags creates 70 % more air pollution than plastic bag production. Production of paper bags also results in much more water being polluted when compared to the production of plastic bags. This is because their manufacturing process requires a lot of water. After calculating, I found solstice contributed to using 1160 liters of water for the production of 58 bags per week, resulting in 60,320 liters of water every year. Another problem with the use of paper bags is the petroleum use. You would think that plastic bags would be horrible to use, but paper bags are equally as bad, if not worse for the environment. Almost the same amount of petroleum used for the material of plastic bags, is consumed in the making of paper bags plus transportation. Recycling 1 ton of paper saves 682.5 gallons of oil, 26,500 liters of water, and 17 trees.
Paper weighs a lot more than plastic. It is estimated that to carry the same number of paper bags, it takes 7 times the transportation to takes to haul plastic bags. More trucks, more pollution, greater greenhouse impact. After doing this research I realized that my treatment center was unintentionally hurting the environment extremely bad. With all of the residents and staff we have on Fridays, we at first that the use of paper bags was doing the earth a favor. We were doing the complete opposite.
Paper bag activists would say, that plastic bags live forever in the landfills, which is clearly another huge environmental problem. I was proved wrong again, that paper bags were a better option that plastic by this fact: Paper bags do not decompose within a meaningful period of time. In fact, most of it lives on for a long time in landfills. I learned that landfills are not meant to make things degrade. With a paucity of oxygen and water in landfills, it is hard for things to decompose there. Ever food thrown away at landfills last for years.
Deforestation is the primary effect of our mindless use of paper, which was exactly how solstice uses paper bags; mindlessly. Conservation groups have made an admirable headway in protecting ecologically rich forests and limiting commercial access. This is great progress and a huge movement that is just beginning for human kind. Just imagine how long a tree will grow to its full size. We are only just realizing the wasted use of our trees, trees that give off oxygen and protect the planet from further global warming. Solstice is just beginning to become an eco-friendly environment and completely changing a huge use of paper can help our huge planet little by little.
I am very passionate about helping the earth and I am a huge advocate for environmental health. I created a project to completely eliminate paper bags at Solstice, and instead, make our own bags out of donated t-shirts. We made over 100 bags, which supplied one for each current resident, one for each staff, one for each teacher, and an abundance for new coming residents. I started out by advertising my plan and having different people bring in old t-shirts they don‰Ûªt need, for the bag making, rather than just giving them away. Not only did this change our outlook on the environment as a community, it also created a positive influence on the Solstice culture. Every girl participated as well as staff to bring our community together to make a difference. This project was fun, brought us all together, and took a big step in changing the world.
Date: December 19, 2017 Views: 4809 File size: 19.0kb, 3191.8kb : 4608 x 3456
Hours Volunteered: 160
Volunteers: 40
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 14-27
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