The founder of the "Lives with Less Plastic" movement wants to take the next step in promoting a reduction in the use of one-time plastic products.
Grade 9 student Jade Janzen is reaching out to find like-minded youth help create a social enterprise.
She says more can be accomplished if she finds like-minded youth in Cochrane to assist. Her efforts to reach out through schools was interrupted by the cancellation of classes.
The aim is to inform the community of the impact disposal plastic products have on the environment and empower them to take simple steps to reduce their consumption and environmental footprint for a sustainable future.
One of their initial projects will be the selling of Lives With Less Plastic environmentally-friendly hoodies and use the proceeds to create a business environmentally-friendly certification program for Cochrane.
The business certification would be awarded to local businesses who compose, recycle, sort waste into compostable bags and offer free water refills for reuseable bottles.
The hoodies being used are 70 per cent bamboo and 30 per cent organic cotton.
"We would sell them, which would give us money to do projects the Live With Plastics approved business," she explains.
Janzen has been working towards this goal for several years. She leads group of students at Miford School and has lobbied extensively. It was a quest that lead her to make a presentation to town council and to work on pilot projects with Cochrane waste and recycling manager Fabrizio Bertolo, She has met with both grocery stores and restaurant managers, and received a mixed response
The issues surrounding single used bags and straws are multiple, she explains. They are difficult and quite often impossible to recycle and for the most part end up in landfills. Because their light-weight and tendency to fly, they often litter the landscape and release harmful chemicals into the environment.
Along with plastic cups and water bottles they are considered to be the biggest plastic pollutants, says Janzen.
According to research, single-use plastic bags are utilized for an average of 12 minutes and afterward, only 12 per cent are sent to recycling plants. Of those only one per cent are actually recycled.
She believes there are many viable alternates, like compostable, cloth or reusable bags and plastic bins or cardboard boxes.
Alternatives like using stainless steel, glass or silicone straws can take the place of plastic straws. There are also a growing number of compostable straws made of paper, wood, and bamboo.
She believes Canada is heading in the right direction. The federal government has said it will ban the use of single-use plastics by 2021.
"We can ban them, but we're still going to need education and people telling other people why they're banned. Then we need it implemented in a way people can transition and know the facts. I think it should have come sooner, but it's a good step in the right direction."
Those wanting to join Janzen in creating this enterprise can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the Facebook page Liveswithlessplastic and Instagram account Liveswith_lessplastic.