Local Plastics Solutions Manufacturer Spends Earth Day At Applewild
As part of the annual Earth Day curriculum this year, Applewild School invited UrthPact, a local company in Leominster, which delivers innovative solutions for recycling and compostable plastics, to engage with the seventh grade science class. UrthPact president and CEO Paul Boudreau and his Assistant Lauren Mackay were invited to talk about UrthPact’s mission to find green solutions to plastics manufacturing. UrthPact designs and manufactures earth-friendly products from bioplastics or recycled plastic materials and focuses on plastics made from plants versus petroleum. Mr. Boudreau and Ms. MacKay actively engaged students with a short PowerPoint presentation and a hands on science lab. Students made a plant based plastic using a small heating element and simple household ingredients. “It is Applewild’s good fortune to form a relationship with a company right here in our own community which is at the forefront of reducing plastic waste.” said Breezy Riposa, Applewild’s seventh grade science teacher. In addition to developing a variety of compostable items typically made from plastic, including cutlery and water bottles, UrthPact has created its own version of the coffee pods used in many single serving machines, but ones that are completely compostable called OneCup. “It is our goal at UrthPact to work toward a future wherein consumption leaves no footprint” said Mr. Boudreau.
In preparation for UrthPact’s visit, Applewild’s seventh grade students spent two weeks researching and learning about how plastic impacts their environment. Students watched two documentaries, “A Plastic Ocean” and “Mission Blue”. Then each seventh grader created a personal green challenge. Upon reflection, some students switched to all reusable consumer products, others challenged their family not to use straws for a weekend, and some set a goal of using recyclable water bottles instead of using plastic cups. “My family has switched from plastic straws to using stainless steel reusable straws because plastic straws are such a problem for our environment.” said Abigale Moran, one of Applewild’s seventh graders. Students also worked on personal projects with the goal of teaching others about plastic usage. Such projects included websites, PowerPoint presentations, creating recycled art, and selling the art to fundraise for a plastic pollution pick up company. In line with Applewild’s Core Values and Core Competencies, these seventh grade students were also instrumental in educating their 5th, 6th, and 8th grade peers about the consequences of plastic in the environment through the use of specific mini-presentations.
CAPTION: Paul Boudreau, President and CEO of UrthPact in Leominster and his Assistant Lauren Mackay work with Zachary Hindle to make a biodegradable, compostable plastic.