Naila Ismail - Gold Award Recipient
Project: Ban The Bag
Every year, 100 billion plastic bags are used by Americans. Only 1% of plastic bags are returned for recycling, which means that the vast majority end up in landfills and oceans where they take hundreds of years to photodegrade.
Recognizing the need for greater awareness, Naila decided to tackle this issue within the Chatham community for her Gold Award. The objective of her project was to raise awareness about the detrimental effects of single-use plastic bags and to promote recycling of single-use plastic film. Through the Bags to Benches program by Trex, a recycled materials manufacturer, she was able to partake in a plastic bag recycling challenge to earn a bench made from recycled materials. she worked with multiple community leaders to receive their insight and guidance on this project and placed collection bins at the local library and high school. Her responsibilities included creating awareness, emptying the bins, sorting the collections to ensure that all items collected were acceptable materials, weighing and tallying the collections, and dropping the collections off at a designated location. Over a period of six months, she collected over 1000 pounds of plastic film and secured two benches for the community!
In addition to the plastic collection, Naila advocated for the single-use plastic bag ban at both Chatham Borough and Township council meetings. She was proud to witness her months of planning and hard work pay off as the ban was enacted in Chatham, effectively paving the way to a more sustainable future.