Plastic Bags & the Environment - York Middle School: SSC 2015

Subject: Environmentalism, Plastic Bags, Pollution, Garbage
Themes: Young Activists 21st Century Environmental Issues
Age groups: Elementary School Middle School
Resource type: Video

Samantha Smith Challenge

York Middle School

Team Puma, Group 3

Grade 7

Scroll down to see the video!

The Issue: Marine and plastic bag pollution in the Gulf of Maine and on York beaches. Also, the number of single-use grocery bags used in our local grocery store.

The Question: How can we educate people about the negative impacts of marine pollution on the York beaches, and get rid of single-use plastic bags?

The Solution: The group will complete a beach clean-up, promote awareness of marine pollution througheducation, and promote awareness of the negative impacts of single-use plastic bags.

Community Partners and Stakeholders Consulted:

  • York Hannaford (supermarket)
  • York Parks and Recreation
  • BYOB York-Bring Your Own Bag York-Working to Reduce Plastic Bag Use

Facts Learned that Influenced Your Thinking:

  • 600 million-The number of single-use plastic bags used each year by Maine residents.
  • 5-The percentage of single-use plastic bags that are recycled in Maine, leaving millions of bags to end up in landfills, incinerators and as litter in Maine's waterways and along roadways.
  • 42 billion-The number of single-use plastic bags used world-wide per month.
  • 12-The average number of minutes a single-use plastic bag gets used in the U.S.
  • 500-The number of single-use bags the average American could avoid using each year by switching to reusable bags.
  • Additional information on marine pollution, impacts on marine life, impacts on beaches

Plan of Action:

After researching the topic, the group decided to organize a beach clean-up day on Long Sands Beach in York, Maine. The group has also made informational flyers to hopefully place at Hannaford to educate the public on single-use bags.


The group plans on holding the beach clean-up on May 22, 2015. The group is waiting for approval to place flyers at Hannaford.

Ongoing support needed:

  • During the beach clean-up
  • To distribute informational flyers


Bryce Reagan Cindy Bellavance

Laura Wilson Will MacDonald

Sean Ranfos Rollan Lemieux

Max Cutler John Bychok

Cara Foggarty Maggie Prince

Tyler Humphrey Connor Remick

Abby Orso Jamie Filias

CJ Anderson

Teacher: Ms. Michelle York, Math Teacher, Puma Team

Names of people who made the video: The whole group!

Thoughts about this experience:

"I learned it is hard to make an impact on the community. It takes a lot of planning and teamwork. I also learned that you need to listen to everyone's ideas." –Maggie Prince

"I learned that helping out the community is a big part of citizenship. Just doing small things in York community can help a lot." -Will MacDonald

"People use too many plastic bags, and a lot of these plastic bags get into the ocean. So, if they don't use plastic bags, we won't have so much pollution." –Bryce Reagan