Wydown Middle School Students Launch Campaign to Ban Plastic Bags in Clayton

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The Great Pacific Plastic Patch.
The plastic ends up poisoning and killing marine life, including plants that are the planet's main source of oxygen. And then there's the Great Pacific Plastic Patch. It's roughly size of the continental U.S., says Millett, and is comprised of plastic carried by currents from China, Japan, the Philippines and the U.S., some of the biggest plastic users (or abusers) in the world.

Closer to home, plastic bags land in the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, and plastic dust from landfills gets ingested by animals who, in turn, pass them on to the humans who eat them. Plastic particles are toxic and have been known to cause brain and breast cancer.

Even plastic bags that get recycled are eventually converted into non-recyclable materials, such as Styrofoam.

Maybe it goes without saying, but none of the members of the campaign use plastic bags anymore. Neither do their parents. Instead they use paper or canvas bags for shopping and bags made from ethanol to clean up after their dogs.

"The stats and information are so powerful," says Schneider, "that it makes you inclined to start thinking about waste. It's been relatively easy to convince people, once they're open to thinking about it."

"A lot of people aren't open, though," Millett says sadly. "But we're in it for the long haul."

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