Gymnasium Verl - Reducing our plastic usage - can it be done? Anti-Plastik-Projekt in der EF
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Gymnasium Verl

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*** Wer noch nicht so gut Englisch spricht, findet unten noch etwas auf Deutsch***

 

In May 2018 our English course from the “EF” (year 10) started the topic “Getting involved – locally and globally". At that point we were not aware yet that it would also change our daily lives – at least until the summer holidays. For the beginning we thought about which problems we have to deal with in the world, for example that there is too much CO2 in the air, there is lots of inequality or, what has especially become important to us later, that there is an overuse of plastic. But what do we personally have to do with this?

 

In order to gain some theoretical background knowledge we focused on both problems in the world and possible solutions first. For instance, we dealt with the problems which arise when dumping too much electronic trash. Our e-waste goes e.g. to Agbogbloshie in Africa where it is burned to separate the valuable metals. The problem is that the people there have to deal with dangers like toxic fumes and consequently with health problems. However, we found out that the boy Kelvin Doe collects electric items from the trash and makes new things from it. Furthermore, we focused on garment factories where the working conditions are not acceptable because there are many dangers for the workers. So we searched for some websites where one can buy fair-trade products and can help the people to work under better working conditions.

 

But still we wanted to get more involved and because of that we started an anti-plastic project on World Oceans Day (8th June 2018) when we got to know that there would be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050, if we continued to use and waste plastic like today. We thought about plastic items which can be found at our places and an item which is biodegradable and can be used instead of the plastic product. When we talked about the different items which we brought to school we started the project. Everybody could voluntarily write his or her name in a list where we named our plastic item and the biodegradable replacement. So we agreed on only using the biodegradable replacement until the summer holidays. For our results and experience see the table below. Maybe you will also find a product you could replace?!  Also read our report about another highlight of our project: Our class trip to “Kernidee” in Paderborn, a shop which only sells products without wrappings.

 

(Vivian da Silva)

 

Our experience

 

To test how it is to avoid a few plastic products and replace them with biodegradable products we all chose one or more products. Then we no longer used the plastic product but exclusively the replacement. The experience we have made is summarised in the following table:

 (Yaara Räder)

Our trip to “Kernidee”

In connection to that project, we planned a trip to the “Kernidee” store in Paderborn to get to know more about how to reduce our daily plastic-overuse and to get to know more plastic-free products we can use in our daily life.

The store in Paderborn is one of 30 stores all over Germany. It sells mainly unwrapped products which are completely free of plastic and a lot of organic food to give many people the opportunity to buy environmentally-friendly and sustainable products. They also try to sell as many local products as they can which is another positive aspect for our environment. To go shopping there you must only bring your own containers or jars and in the store you can simply add the ingredients you want in the amount you need. But even if you forget to bring your containers that is no problem because you can buy them right there or the shop assistants can help you out with paper bags. You can also buy grain in full pieces and can grind it in the store, same with coffee beans which you can grind there, too. Another benefit is that you can also relax with a cup of coffee or a glass of juice there and with your own cup from home it is even cheaper. You can not only buy food there but also other products like for example hygienic products. Altogether they sell about 500 products in their store.

But before we went to the store we had thought about possible questions we could ask the team of “Kernidee” to really learn more about the store and especially to get many ideas we can add to our daily life. All of us were excited about the trip and very interested in thinking about questions we could ask because the most of us had not heard about the store before. We also tried to think about really interesting questions to ask something that can bring us new ideas and goals we can set for our own plastic use at home as well as changing our mindset towards the nature and environment.

As we arrived there the owner of the store, Alexandra Feege, warmly welcomed us and told us about the idea of the store. She answered a lot of our questions which included for example that she opened the store in Paderborn one and a half years ago and that she has special deals with her delivery men, so that they bring her the products unwrapped. She also told us many interesting facts about our shopping behaviour and marketing tricks we are exposed to every day. For example none of us had thought that a simple chocolate pudding is full of industrial trash and just 1% out of cacao. One of the disadvantages compared to other shops is for example that they sometimes are a bit more expensive but on the other hand they sell products with good qualities and they are cheaper than bio-stores. Ms Feege also told us that many people think it is a disadvantage that you have to be prepared every time you go shopping there (because of the containers) but she said it was actually a benefit because you go shopping with awareness and do not buy anything you do not really need like all the companies want to. Their store is also really quiet and obviously has no advertisement in it which is liked by many people who for example get headaches while they are in those big stores. We all walked around in the store and found a lot of helpful and interesting things. Some students of our class tried the candy there and enjoyed it very much. We all were impressed of all the things you can buy without plastic and also the vegan and biodegradable products. Many of us found especially the hygienic products very interesting like for example a biodegradable deodorant. All in all we were there for about two hours and learned a lot about how easy it is to replace plastic products with biodegradable products. It only costs some effort which people are often too lazy to spend. The owner of the store appealed that we all should pay more attention to what we eat and buy and that we are the ones who can change something if we want.

(Josephina Lass)

Our final conclusion

Even if some of us will be happy to be allowed to use our plastic products, for instance plastic bottles, again, all of us are of the opinion that it was a great experience to replace our daily plastic items with a biodegradable product. We gained many new ideas, especially in “Kernidee”, found out that the use of the biodegradable items is not as hard as expected and some of us will even apply our new knowledge in our daily life in the future. Which biodegradable product will YOU try?

(English course EF and Ms Feldmann)

 


 

Für unsere deutschsprachigen Leser

Zusammenfassung in aller Kürze:

Anlässlich des „Tages des Meeres“ am 8. Juni 2018, an dem wir, der Englischkurs der EF von Frau Feldmann, erfuhren, dass im Jahr 2015 mehr Plastik als Fisch in unseren Meeren sein wird, wenn wir so weitermachen wie bisher, starteten wir unser Anti-Plastik-Projekt. Wir überlegten, welchen Plastik-Alltagsgegenstand wir durch ein anderes, biologisch abbaubares Produkt ersetzen können und vereinbarten, dass jede/r von uns sich für mindestens ein plastikfreies Ersatzprodukt entscheidet und dies bis zu den Sommerferien, also insgesamt etwa fünf Wochen, ausschließlich verwendet. Zudem informierten wir uns über Plastik in den Ozeanen und fuhren schließlich als besonderes Highlight unseres Projektes zur „Kernidee“ nach Paderborn, einem Laden, welcher fast nur unverpackte Alltagsprodukte anbietet. Der Tabelle könnt ihr entnehmen, welche Erfahrungen wir mit unseren plastikfreien Produkten gemacht haben und inwiefern wir sie zur Etablierung in unseren Alltag empfehlen können:

 

 

(Ronja Schüppen)

Unser Fazit:

 

Obwohl manche von uns froh sind, dass sie ab den Sommerferien wieder ihre gewohnten Gegenstände, z.B. Plastikflaschen, verwenden dürfen, sind wir alle der Meinung, dass es eine sehr bereichernde Erfahrung war, biologisch abbaubare Produkte statt der Plastikprodukte auszuprobieren. Einige von uns haben sich auch für die Zukunft vorgenommen, die Ersatzprodukte dauerhaft in ihren Alltag in integrieren. Welches plastikfreie Produkt wirst DU ausprobieren?