I would like to review a program in which we intend to purchase a simple plastic shredder and install it in the school compound to counter the rising volume of plastic containers and plastic bags in the school environment and its environs. Students will be encouraged to drop their plastic bottles and plastic bags at designated areas within the school compound from which they will be collected by staff working at the plant on specific days of the week and taken to the shredding area, where they will be crushed to smaller pieces. The shredded material will be sold to companies that manufacture plastic materials to offset some of the costs used in setting up and running the program. These companies do not accept whole containers as they waste space.
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The effects of plastic on the environment are very plain, first, their non-biodegradable nature means that they will remain in soil or water for a very long time (Collins, 2010). Although plastic were introduced to ease the effects that accompany the production of paper bags, their overall environmental impact was not considered. Plastic is made out of ethylene or natural gas and can be molded into a large number of objects, unfortunately, it is unable to return to its original products, hence, its recyclability is limited (Subramanian, 2000). They break up into smaller pieces due to solar radiation and become small specs while in their polymer states. At this state, the toxic plastic particles enter the food chain when animals consume them (Dioum, 2008). However, even before they disintegrate into smaller particles, plastic bags can entangle, suffocate and kill animals both on land and at sea. Indeed, more than 1,000,000 seabirds and aquatic animals die annually from plastic ingestion and entanglement. Besides, the water resources in the school and in the school environment are full of plastic bottles and bags floating on them, creating an eyesore, making the environment untidy, and polluting such water resources (Andrady, 2003).
Currently, very few plastic is recycled. Research shows that a paltry 1-3% is recycled (Collins, 2010). Coupled with the harmful effects of plastic on the environment, we were prompted us to come up with a plastic shredding program and hope that our efforts will be replicated in other areas. However, the main challenge in making this plan a success is finance. The project requires a large initial capital outlay to purchase the system and in running it. The group approached the school administration and although they warmed up to the idea, they said that we would have to fund the project ourselves.
From an evaluation of several companies that make plastic shredders, the group settled on Weima UK, a UK based company renowned for their high-quality machinery (Weima UK, 2010). Luckily, they have a branch in the US and this will greatly reduce our expenditure. The cheapest shredder made by Weima costs $11,280. This is only the initial investment. The school administration has agreed to transport the machine from the sales center to the school. The full budget is outlined below:
|Cost of Shredder||11,280|
|Erect a shed||800|
|Fuel, Electricity and other expenses||200 per month|
Although the shredder is expensive, Consumer Reports gave it positive reviews over several similar products that were lower in prices. Besides, Weima UK offers a 5-year warranty on the product, this includes free service and spare parts on the shredder. No other company offered such a good deal. Another advantage of the machine is that it can also shred thin aluminum cans such as those used to pack pressurized drinks and this will further our environmental conservation agenda.
The group has contacted a number of companies regarding the sale of shredded paper many of them promised to purchase the shredded plastics at a minimum price of $25 per kg, the price would depend on the type of plastic such as polycarbonates, ABS, polyethylene, pet bottles, polypropylene, polystyrene, and PVC. The plastic will be sorted into these categories once they are brought into the shredder. Through the sale of the plastics, we hope to recoup some of the initial costs, the money may also help us to purchase more shredders in the future to be distributed to other neighborhoods. However, this is a future plan and our current focus is on setting up the shredder at the school.
In order to ensure that our plan has the desired impact on the environment, evaluations will be carried out regularly to determine whether there is a significant reduction in the number of plastics in the school environment and in the surrounding neighborhood. This will be done by calculating the weight of plastic wastes collected in a specified area, and comparing it to the initial or previous results. Members will be assigned different areas each measuring 1000m2 to collect plastic containers and deliver them to the shredding center, the plastics will be weighed and the mean weight determined. These computations will indicate whether our program has reduced the volume of plastics in our environment. We are kindly requesting that the Board assist us in making our project a success.
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Andrady, A. L. (2003). Plastics and the environment. NJ: John Willey and Sons, Inc.
Collins, A. (2010). Paper or plastic bags. Web.
Dioum, B. (2008). Campaign Against the Plastic Plague Background Info. Web.
Subramanian, P. M. (2000).Plastics recycling and waste management in the US. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, Volume 28, Issues 3-4, Pages 253-263.
Weima UK. (2010). WEIMA: Plastic shredders. Web.