Monday, August 14, 2006

Project Goals & Ideas

Since the auspicious evening, I've had to organize my thoughts on this project. There are three primary aims:

1) To raise public awareness on the use of plastic bags

2) To instill a sense of personal responsibility that inspires behavioral, environmental, and economic changes in the South Bend community

3) To apply statistical training and knowledge that addresses a real-world issue in our community

To meet these goals, several activities have been planned:

1) I will be conducting service-learning program in my statistics courses, Spring 2007. This service-learning component will allow students to apply their statistical training to this issue. A major part of this progam includes collecting plastic bags within a 5-mile radius of campus, gathering survey data on the use of plastic bags in South Bend, and creating a pile of plastic bags, which will be tallied as bags are collected. Information from the survey will be used for statistical purposes that fit within the framework of course expectations.

2) In addition to the service-learning program, plans are underway to host an on-campus event on the use of plastic bags. This event would include students, faculty, and community members. One aspect of the event would include plastic-bag donations from community members. Other aspects of the event include distributing information on the consumption of plastic bags, contests, and fun-filled activities that provide a visual means of understanding the importance of recycling and re-using plastic bags.

3) A critical aspect of the event raises the issue of handling the pile of plastic bags. At this time, the state of Indiana does not offer facilities to recycle plastic bags. Therefore, one idea is to consider re-using plastic bags in a creative, and potentially, cost-effective manner. That is, by applying basket-weaving techniques, people can learn how to create plastic shopping bags. As a long-term outcome of this project, this skill may be taught to individuals who could make and sell these bags for far less than it costs to purchase a cloth shopping bag.

4) There's another *treat* in store for this project. At this time, however, I will not let the shark out of bag! (I think Steven Soderbergh used that line when asked about a future film project. In any case, I'm known by my friends for butchering well-known phrases and quotes!)


Anonymous said...

I heartily agree with you. I was shocked when I came here from Chicago, where these bags were part of their recycling program from the start, to discover 'they' wouldn't take them here. It makes NO sense. I recycle them in my home as much as possible, using them in place of buying other bags for garbage, etc. But one can only use so many!
Do you want me to start saving them and giving them to you for your project???


Conserve Plastic Bags said...

Hi C,

Thanks for your support *and* for posting the first comment on the blog--I really appreciate it! :0)

Since this project begun, I've been extremely challenged by what to do with the bags--I actually grabbed a bunch of bags and put them in my car.

Martin's provides a .03 credit for re-using plastic bags. And I *always* forget to bring my plastic bags to the store!!

So, I finally did it--I put a bunch of bags in the car. And I've got a couple stored in my bike tote.

Maybe this will do the trick.

Anyway, I'm smiling at your generous offer of actually saving bags for me--yes, please save them. In fact, bring them with you to the festival. This is going to be quite an experience!