After the 5th and 6th grade classes at Washington School viewed the movie "Bag It", which examines our dependency on single-use bags, they decided to take action to reduce the use of single-use bags. The students developed a school project called "Paper Nor Plastic" and approached the issue in a very organized fashion. They assembled into committees for research, publicity, purchasing, etc. and devised a comprehensive campaign to educate the community about the need to switch to reusable bags.
The students participated in the "Day Without a Bag" event by distributing reusable bags at their neighborhood Albertson's and they set up a booth at the Farmers Market where they worked several Saturdays giving away reusable bags. The students also participated in the civic process by gathering signatures for a petition to eliminate the single use bags from the Santa Barbara community and they participated in public comment at a February 2012 City Council meeting where they made their voices heard.
They built a "Paper Nor Plastic" website to further their community outreach efforts. The students' teachers Jackie Bluestein and Michael Riley allowed classroom time and creative freedom with this project. Washington School 5th and 6th grade classes were given a Spirit of Service award for their outstanding effort to reduce waste in the Santa Barbara community.