Ava Teichroeb, left, and Michelle MacEwen seek to reduce their plastic usage on Gabriola Island. (MIKE McKENNA photo)

Gabriola students challenged to try to go plastic-free in July

Michelle MacEwen and students gathering info to present to Gabriola grocery store

An educator and executive of a non-profit on Gabriola Island is challenging students to reduce plastic usage in July.

Michelle MacEwen, Gabriola Island Recycling Organization general manager and environmental educator at Gabriola elementary, has six students taking part in a plastic-free challenge. The children have done a lot of work exploring climate change and what’s occuring on Gabriola Island in terms of infrastructure.

MacEwen said they reached out to Nesters Food Market, which she said has numerous items that are heavily packaged in plastic. She said the group is trying to create a toolkit for Nesters’ head office.

Nesters is open to making changes if MacEwen and her group provide data, she said.

“So we put together a zero-plastic, or consumer plastic survey … and we’ve completed about 400 surveys, which is almost 10 per cent of the Gabriola population, and sort of gives us a much clearer idea of what Gabriolans would like to see in regard to plastic packaging in the stores,” said MacEwen. “And to support and bring more awareness to it, we decided to do a plastic-free challenge as well.”

RELATED: Nanaimo councillor looks for plastic bag ban alternative

RELATED: Potato chip bags now accepted in new program

MacEwen said students seek real solutions that can possibly create a circular economy or stop the amount of plastic coming from Gabriola.

Ava Teichroeb, one of MacEwen’s students, said all of her purchases for the month are free of plastic and while she can’t control her family’s purchases, she hopes to inspire them to buy less plastic. You can’t completely cut out plastics, she said, but she is trying.

“For food, there’s not really, really good alternatives, when you look at all the options in the grocery store, you see which ones have the least amount of packaging,” said Teichroeb. “There’s also beeswax food wraps, which are a replacement for Saran Wrap. Using plastic containers for your food so that you’re not buying the already packaged stuff at the store.”

While it may have been easier to co-ordinate during the school year, MacEwen said it works well in the summer as well.

“Actually, in some ways [it] works out maybe more realistically because the kids, a lot of them are on road trips or camping or staying at a relative’s place, so they’re learning what those challenges are when you’re travelling on the road … so you’re no longer just dealing with what you can buy on Gabriola. You’re then dealing with the bigger picture of the world outside of our island and how hard it is to avoid plastics,” said MacEwen.



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Karl on Twitter and Instagram

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Missing man thought to be in Nanaimo

Nanaimo RCMP ask for public’s help in locating Kevin Golze, 45

School district reveals restart plans for Nanaimo-Ladysmith

K-5 students will see two days of instruction a week, 6-12 students once a week

Nanaimo painter inspired by medieval animal illustrations in new exhibition

Yvonne Vander Kooi to unveil ‘Bestiary’ via Gallery Merrick live-stream

Walk for Alzheimer’s will physically distance online this year

Nanaimo invited to take part in fundraiser for Alzheimer Society of B.C.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Community policing office’s closure will impact safety in the area

Strong police and bylaw presence needed in neighbourhood, say letter writers

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

RDN Transit to see rollout of 15 new HandyDart buses

Buses will have temporary protective barriers installed to prevent spread of COVID-19

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

United Way distributes $120,000 in federal funding to seniors in need during pandemic

Salvation Army, Eden Gardens, hospice society among groups granted money

Beefs & Bouquets, May 27

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Stepdad able to walk bride down the aisle days before he passes away

Ceremony held amidst pandemic in order to fulfill bride’s wish to have stepdad give her away

State of Local Emergency declared for Boundary as communities brace for river flooding

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

Most Read