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Apr 10, 2018 1:15 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Children Decorate Reusable Bags To Drive Home Importance Of Recycling

Angela Mantilla, left, and Kiana Dias decorating environmentally-friendly tote bags at the East Hampton Library. KYRIL BROMLEY
Apr 10, 2018 1:42 PM

It has been three months since Suffolk County began requiring supermarkets and certain retailers to start charging five cents for every paper and plastic bag requested by customers, an incentive that’s intended to get more people to use reusable shopping bags and reduce the amount of plastic entering the waste stream.Though if they really wanted people to get excited about the environmentally friendly initiative, county officials probably should have encouraged locals to decorate their own reusable shopping bags—which is exactly what a handful of East Hampton families did at the East Hampton Library on Friday.

Hosted by children’s book author Joyce Raimondo, the art workshop encouraged children ages 4 and up to decorate their family’s reusable tote bags with foam lettering, beads and even bottle caps—to make their bags pop and stand out.

According to Ms. Raimondo, who has published seven children’s art books including The Museum of Modern Art’s “Art Safari” series, last week’s workshop was one of many activities offered as part of her “Imagine That!” program, which relies on art to educate children.

“A major theme that we work on with ‘Imagine That!’ is recycling, because you can take things that you have at home that are free and use creative thinking to see an object in a new way,” Ms. Raimondo said of her free program. “It’s teaching the kids about environmental concerns in a way that’s appropriate for their age.”

Ms. Raimondo explained that she gets most of her ideas for “Imagine That!” activities from events taking place around the world. But with the plastic and paper bag law still fresh in people’s minds when they go shopping, Ms. Raimondo thought she could use that movement to focus on the importance of reusable tote bags to teach kids about the environment and the importance of recycling.

Before allowing the participants to start decorating, Ms. Raimondo opened last week’s program by educating them about the benefits of recycling and green living.

“If you just said to a child, ‘We don’t use bags, we recycle,’ it doesn’t mean anything,” she said. “But if they actually have an experience using their hands and their imagination, it will really sink in and have meaning for the child, because they made it.”

It certainly seemed to impress those children in attendance last week.

Nine-year-old Owen Grisch said he enjoyed being able to make something other than the clay models he creates during his art classes at John M. Marshall Elementary School in East Hampton. He enjoyed it so much that he plans to give his newly decorated bag, covered in puzzle pieces and featuring his name, with a Blue Moon beer bottle cap representing the “O” in Owen, to his grandmother for her upcoming birthday.

Meanwhile, 6-year-old Kiana Dias, also a student of John Marshall, said she wishes she could be introduced to more art activities, like the bag decoration workshop, during school hours.

The program not only impressed the kids but their parents as well. Nancy Joy brought her two daughters, Kaitlin and Lauren, to the workshop, even though she says she already stresses the importance of using reusable bags at home.

“It’s very important to teach the kids about environmental living, especially considering the state of the world today,” Ms. Joy said.

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That’s cute and all but I’m just going to say it.....your taking environmentally friendly bags an decorating them with plastic beads , bottle caps ,foam and glue ...thats rather contradicting . Sorry kids!!! :( I hope the parents AND the kids remove all these items (that haven’t fallen off along the way) from the bag when it comes time to place them in the recycling bin, including the glue. Large amounts of glue on paper cannot be recycled. Just as too much grease on a pizza ...more
By toes in the water (756), southampton on Apr 11, 18 7:26 AM
Leave. The. Kids. Alone.
By SlimeAlive (1134), Southampton on Apr 12, 18 7:08 AM
Remember to recycle Slime!
By toes in the water (756), southampton on Apr 13, 18 7:07 AM