Using our collaged pop containers, we were able to fill it with a reusable water bottle and lunch container with decorative stickers, supplies for one craft, a helpful plastic checklist and finally our activity book which contains plastic facts, fun activities, and craft ideas using recycled materials. Although we did not fully produce each book, the covers for the remaining three were drafted. We also created a fun and friendly poster that will serve as a reminder to the children who use our kit at home, that it is important to take care of the environment wherever you are.
After getting our brand and characters established, we turned our focus toward the container for our individual pieces.
Starting off, we made some rough models to get an idea of form and building materials. We initially made our models with cardboard and cereal boxes, but discovered the cardboard was too burly and the cereal box lacked strength. Our final material ended up being 12-pack soda boxes, which goes along with our kit’s theme of reusing and recycling. The boxes were then collaged together to be formed into a simple box or “briefcase” design. The final “briefcase” form was selected because we felt it would suit the contents appropriately, along with being realistic to construct.
Below you can see the design elements consistent across our entire brand. The logo and main logo badge are in the top left corner, followed by our single color logo and color palette. The wooden planks will be consistent ways to introduce topics, and all four kit characters are along the bottom.
Each kit has a specific character that introduces the issue and the activities that go along with the topic. Kit 1 is introduced by Sheldon and focuses on Plastic Reduction. Kit 2 is introduced by Walter and focuses on composting. Kit 3 is introduced by Bulby and focuses on Energy Conservation. Kit 4 is introduced by Casey and focuses on Water Conservation. Each kit comes with their own version of the logo and their own badge.
During our Round Robin review, we received a lot of very informative and helpful feedback. For critique, we presented the beginning stages of our book layout, the crafts we were planning on including, and the beginning stages of our brand design. These were the 3 main parts of our project that we wanted the most feedback on.
Regarding our activity book, the feedback mostly had to do with advice for the books future development; people seemed happy with the content we were using and the general flow of information. As the book is fleshed out more, people wanted to make sure that we remember to keep it heavy with illustrations and activities while making sure it isn’t too heavy with text. We are definitely going to try to do that. We also received some feedback regarding book size. It was suggested that we consider making it a coloring book size or maybe even using coloring book paper. We like the idea of making a larger sized book, but still want to pages to be colorful and inviting.
With the crafts, people seemed excited by the ones that we are currently planning on including in the book. We did receive the feedback that we need to stay conscious that a lot of these crafts require cutting plastic, and this isn’t a task that kids should do on their own / unsupervised. For our main craft, the bird feeder, we plan to include all of the materials in the kit and pre-cut, so the kids only have to do the assembly. We hope to keep the other crafts very simple, so a limited amount of cutting is needed and they are more decorating based.
Brand design was definitely the area of our project that we wanted the most feedback on. In terms of the SustainaPals (the characters that go with the corresponding kits), everyone thought they were wonderful! So far, we have the turtle (plastic reduction pal) and the worm (composting pal) pretty fleshed out. We want to develop a lightening bug for our energy conservation kit and are still deciding what will be used for our water conservation kit.
Option A was received well by most reviewers. People felt that the simplicity was appropriate for a kid’s brand, and the rounded type faces were friendly, inviting, and childish (in a good way). People also responded well to the “a” of A1, because it resembles the “a” that children learn how to make as they learn how to read and write. These more simple marks allow for the characters to really steal the show and be the star of the brand identity- which would probably speak to kids most anyway. It was noted that the letters were too close together.
Some people felt that the type face of option B was too mature for the audience or that the mark resembled a pet food brand. However, some people felt it was easier to understand what the brand was called when it was broken up like it is in B2. While most people still wanted the words on the same line, this gave us the realization that one way to separate “sustaina” and “pals” would be to simply make them different colors. Some people enjoyed the way that the “n” and “l” in B2 connected and gave us some ideas regarding what that could become.
People seemed to like this option, several people thought this was a unique approach at combining the words and felt it matched the characters best. But most didn’t feel all caps were 100% appropriate for a kid’s brand.
A lot of people really really liked what was beginning to happen with the “a” at the end of sustaina, but didn’t feel like it was legible enough. They liked the idea of incorporating the different kits into the logo though, and felt that if we could somehow do that in a way that would be easier to understand, they would really enjoy it. They definitely applauded the effort of trying to make that work and felt that some cool things were happening. The shape was fun and interesting to look at.
People seemed to really enjoy these. They liked the different badges for the different kits. They also talked about how these badges could make really cool stickers or “medals” for the kids to wear / use for activities. Maybe the badge could become the main mark.
Some people really liked how these badges looked. They enjoyed how the “S” resembled the recycling wheel. The badges are in a very nice holding shape that also was received well. These could serve a similar purpose as the badges from option A. It was recommended that the “S” could be very simple inside of the hexagon.
Most people enjoyed the style of the characters. The turtle represents our plastic kit, the worm will represent our compost and gardening kit, a firefly will represent our energy conservation kit, and a crab will represent our water conservation kit. For right now the comments we got were to make the worm a more appropriate color and give the turtle thicker eye lids.
For the logos, we want something round, friendly, and legible. Here are some different logo variations that we are testing.
Badges & Color Palette:
The badges correspond to the different kit themes. The color palette was designed to be bright, bold, and eye catching to draw kids to the product; however, we also chose colors that were muted to a certain extent to keep them from being overwhelming.
This is a very helpful article that explores the importance of not only recycling, but also really focusing on reusing plastic products instead of purchasing new ones. The article mentions that while recycling certainly has become a popular activity, 9% of plastic products are actually recycled, the rest ends up in landfills or in the Pacific Plastic Vortex. Ideas are given regarding ways that you can teach your children about this reusing plastic products. This article is helping us to narrow down what could go into our activity book, such as coloring activities in which children color in plastic products in a room, listing activities in which they say what they have that is plastic, visuals that show what plastic can be recycled and what can’t be recycled, and a little experiment in which different materials are put in water (plastic and organic) and children watch what materials eventually degrade and what doesn’t.
Each kit we create will have some type of recyclable craft the kids can construct.
Self Watering Plants
A 2 liter terrarium
We can provide them with some sort of seeds/plant to put into the terrarium, the kids job will be to find the 2 liter.
2 liter ornaments:
We can provide string, beads, glitter, accessories to decorate the ornament, the kids job will be to find the 2 liter.
2 liter stick horse:
We can provide eyes, paint, felt, the stick, etc., the kids will need to find the 2 liter.
Plastic bottle bracelets:
We can provide the paint/decorating materials, the kids will need to find the 2 liter.
Paper towel log cabin:
Although this isn’t made out of plastic, its an idea we can think about using other materials.
2 liter bird feeder:
We can provide the bird seed, the kids can find a 2 liter/pop bottle, as well as the stick that goes through the bottle.
2 liter piggy bank:
We can provide the basic materials: paper, eyes, paint etc., the kids will find a 2 liter.
2 liter/milk bottle shark:
We can provide string, the kids will be tasked in find a plastic milk bottle or 2 liter.
1) Precycle – attempt to reduce waste before it becomes waste. The concept is explained in more detail here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precycling
2) Recycle with purpose! Not all plastics are created equal and recycling takes some degree of effort. The good thing is that if this awareness is created early and turned into a habit, recycling becomes a breeze!
3) Teach your kids how to Conserve existing resources – water and food for example. Remind them to put food back in the refrigerator and close the door. There are numerous creative ways to conserve water.
4) Use paper on both sides and make use of scrap paper. With the abundance of personal printers, this becomes very important. Young kids love to doodle, show them how to do this more effectively by using paper on both sides.
5) Encourage taking shorter showers. Warm water can be so mesmerizing. A water proof shower clock is a great environmentally conscious investment that helps your kids to stop taking 40 minute showers 🙂
6) Use non-toxic cleaners in your house and explain that these are better for the environment. Kids require a lot of cleaning, do your part to help the environment!
7) Use foams and aerosols based on compressed air rather than other propellants.
8) Help your kids learn to turn things off when not in use. This is especially true of personal computers andelectronics, which can consume a lot of energy! With so many things to do, it’s so easy to forget to turn something off.
9) Teach your kids the importance of car maintenance and miles per galon rating. Ask them to work on the car and show them how you dispose of car liquids.
10) Find a way to carpool at least once a week. It’s fun and environmentally friendly!
11) Encourage your kids to get a bike and ride it responsibly. This is a great exercise and saves you some time, because you don’t have to drop your kids off everywhere.
12) Reduce the use of petroleum based products like plastics.
13) Pick up and properly dispose of trash and recyclables, even if they are not yours. This only takes a second and is a great example of a selfless environmentally friendly act.
14) Spread awareness of environmental issues – your kids will have to face these issues during their lifetime!
15) Conserve hot water and reduce the water heater setting by a few degrees during summer months.
16) Show your children how you care for your home, ask them to inform you of leaky faucets and pipes if they see any.
17) Use biodegradable products – plastic bags, dishes, soaps, etc.
18) Preserve your environment. Volunteer with your kids for tree planting programs or creek cleanups. Seeing first hand how much trash is in our rivers sends a powerful message for recycling.
19) Properly dispose of things including hazardous household waste. Find out if your township has a hazardous waste collection program. Properly recycle of used batteries.
20) If you are not already using energy saving light bulbs, try to put them at least in your kids rooms. These are only marginally more expensive than “old school” ones and practically pay for themselves by saving you money on electric bill!
21) Learn to do more with less. This implies enjoying what you already have more, repairing and reusing existing items! This can also teach kids how to be more creative!
22) Talk to your kids about pesticides and other garden chemicals that you may be using presently. A lot of these end up in the oceans.
23) Start a trial compost project in your backyard and get your kids involved.Composting can be done very inexpensively and keeps a lot of waste out of landfills!
24) Explain the importance of house insulation, especially during winter months. Ask your kids to avoid keeping their windows open during the winter. Teach them how to use the thermostat, and explain that setting temperature above a certain point only wastes energy!
25) Use more energy effective appliances and explain their significance to your children.
26) Avoid bulky packaging and opt out for air bags instead of Styrofoam packing peanuts. Styrofoam is virtually indestructible and poisons our oceans. If you receive a package with Styrofoam peanuts, save them and reuse them. Maybe you are looking to sell something on ebay? Now’s the time!
These steps have a significant impact of reducing household waste and hazardous household waste. Water conservation is a “drop in the bucket” compared to the needs of modern farming and cattle breeding, but it is the mindset that counts. Having people who are aware of their impact on the environment will help enact more environmentally friendly regulations!
Hands of Plastic (HOP) is a kit created by the American Chemistry Association to aid teachers in teaching their children about plastic in school. This seems like a great resource in terms of plastic education, but doesn’t seem to focus as much on the sustainability issues that plastic presents. The kit seems much more chemistry based than anything that we are trying to focus on. It will be helpful to read about the information that this kit will provide us with, particularly with how it follows the Science Standards required for teachers to teach their students.
“HOP science education investigation kits contain everything you need to design and implement a thorough and engaging investigation into the chemistry and the characteristics of plastics. The original HOP science curriculum kit was developed by the National Middle Level Science Teachers Association (NMLSTA), produced by the Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) and distributed to more than 30,000 teachers nationwide. A nominal charge for the kit materials and shipping can allow the Council to continue providing valued and long-lasting science tool.”
To narrow down the focus of our activity kit, we have decided we would have a variety of kits that have different themes. Our primary kit will be plastic focused. It can dive into how to re-use plastic products, reduce the use of plastic products, and how to help clean up / recycle the plastic that will no longer be used. We would also focus a lot on big problem of plastic is, but also really show kids that they can make a big big difference by adding little changes to their lives. The other kits may have the focuses of composting, gardening, and water waste.
We have begun doing more research regarding the specific problems that the over-use of plastic presents the environment. Below are links that we will reference throughout the project to make sure that we are including all of the information that will be useful and necessary to really make the kit effectively communicate the issue.
Plastic Not-So-Fantastic: How the Versatile Material Harms the Environment and Human Health
This article is hugely informative on the effect plastic has on the human body, wildlife, habitats, water sources, ground water, and energy waste.
Plastic Water Bottles Causing Flood of Harm to Our Environment
This article focuses on the gigantic waste of plastic water bottles. It talks about the water bottle industry and how silly it is to buy bottled water, because in most cases, it isn’t any cleaner than tap water. In fact, a lot of bottled water is simply tap water with a label on it, and then chemicals are leached from the plastic, making it much more harmful for your body. It also talks about, that while some people do recycle, 80% of the water bottles that we buy still end up in landfills.
Adverse Health Effects of Plastic
This article, once again, talks about how harmful plastic can be to the human body. It also mentions different alternatives people can use instead of plastic.
Great Pacific Garbage Patch
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a collection of litter that spans waters from theWest Coast of North America to Japan. The patch is compromised of the Eastern Garbage Patch, located near Japan, and the Western Garbage Patch, located between the U.S. states of Hawaii and California. This will be an interesting factual piece to include in the kit because of how insane it is that it exists. Hopefully, this fact will really speak to kids and make them want to help make things like this not happen anymore.
The Effect of Recycling Plastic Water Bottles On the Environment
This article speaks of the positive impact that recycling plastic water bottles has. It mentions waste reduction, resource conservation, energy conservation, green house gas emission reduction, and pollution decreases. When we narrow down what our kit will specifically include, we can reference these issues and decide which ones may be most impactful to present to children.
Rise Above Plastics
This article talks about how harmful and permanent plastic is, especially on the ocean. It talks about how we are surrounded by the material and how, with the exception of the small amount that has been incinerated, virtually every piece of plastic that was ever made still exists in some shape or form. It also offers “Ten Way to Rise Above Plastic.” These 10 points will be great to incorporate in our kit in some form.