Single Use Plastic Bag Recycling

Annie Stienecker is a student at Elizabeth Lane Elementary. She enjoys baking cakes, piano and playing softball at MARA. Even at age 11 she understands the need for environmental consciousness and hopes to encourage the Matthews community to produce less waste and recycle right.


Hi. My name is Annie Stienecker.

I have lived in Matthews since 2008. I am 11 years old and go to Elizabeth lane Elementary. Recently I was assigned to do a TED talk in school on a topic. I picked how plastic bags impact our planet and ever since then I have been inspired to change this problem. I am here to talk to you about the environmental impact of single use plastic bags, how these bags affect our local community and what we as a community can do to make a difference.

This year, 5 Trillion plastic bags will be used. That's 160,000 per second! The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.which is a floating landfill of garbage in the ocean is twice the size of Texas and is mostly composed of plastic. According to, plastic will only start degrading after 700 years and will only fully degrade after 1,000 years. This means all of the plastic that has ever been produced has not yet degraded! My generation has to be the one to clean up the mess and I can hardly keep up with cleaning up my room! I recently went to our local Harris Teeter on Matthews Township Parkway and found out that they use an average of 20,000 bags every week. This means in one year our local Harris Teeter uses more than 1 million bags.

Globally only 1 to 3 percent of single use plastic bags are recycled.

Locally here in Matthews these bags are ending up in our trees, streams and parks and mostly in our landfills. I am here to propose that the town of Matthews consider a ban on single use plastic bags by the year 2021. One way to do this is for our town to work with our local retailers such as Publix, Harris Teeter, and Target. By working together as a community we can create awareness and change the habits of our local shoppers. For example our local target gives you 5 cents back for every reusable bag you bring in to use while shopping. Maybe we can work with other local retailers to offer this incentive as well to create awareness. By working together we can keep Matthews clean for your generation, my generation and generations to come.