The global climate crisis has ignited efforts against climate change and in support of the environment. Many of these efforts are spearheaded by youth − including Irvine students.

One such group is the “Plastic Project,” a club at Woodbridge High that fights the overuse of plastic in grocery stores.

“The goal of the Plastic Project is to go out into the community and reduce plastic waste,” club leader and founder Naomi Hampton said. “This is done in two ways. The club meets with managers of grocery stores like Sprouts and Albertsons, encouraging them to reduce the use of those thin plastic bags that are used for fruits and vegetables, replacing the plastic bags with more eco-friendly solutions. We’re also encouraging customers to bring containers from home. In addition, the club is working on projects to increase the use of recycling bins in local restaurants as well as to generally reduce plastic use in the community by encouraging the public to change their habits, like using reusable water bottles instead of plastic ones.”

Naomi’s younger sister, Claire, who helps with the Plastic Project.

Inspired by her Girl Scouts campaign, Hampton started the club in September 2018. The club now consists of 20 active members. While the club meets biweekly during the school year, members do most of their work and outreach efforts over the summer.

Hampton explained that the Plastic Project is still in its early stages. She said, “There are some stores that have started offering paper bags at check-out. I think one of my local stores has started putting them out, though plastic is still the primary one used. I hope that the club will be able to expand to other communities in order to make more of a difference in reducing plastic consumption. It is vital to make a difference because we only have one planet and if we keep damaging it today, we won’t be able to live on it tomorrow.”

As the planet is in a climate crisis, every effort helps. The Plastic Project is one initiative local students are taking in hopes of making a difference.

Over the course of the next few months, we will spotlight other student groups in Irvine that are working on this critical issue.

Maya Sabbaghian and Mandy Yang

Maya Sabbaghian is a senior at Portola High School and is the former Co-Editor-in-Chief of her school publication, the Portola Pilot. Maya is passionate about journalism, politics, and archery.

Mandy Yang is a junior at Woodbridge High School and an Irvine Community News and Views intern. She enjoys Taekwondo, reading and writing fiction, as well as volunteering at her local library.
Maya Sabbaghian and Mandy Yang

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