Fourth Grader Helps Cape May County School Ditch Plastic Utensils

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A nine year old in Cape May County is stepping up to make a big difference at his school.

Theo Kistler was doing research for a project in the Gifted and Talented program at Cape May City Elementary School.

“I thought it was just the fish that eat the plastic, but then I realized that it’s the fish that eat those fish, and then it’s not just affecting animals underwater, it’s affecting everything,” said Kistler.

So, he got to thinking about how he can help prevent plastic from getting into the ocean.

“The idea was that we have so many plastics — our school uses plastic — [so] what can we do? Start small,” said Sandy Sandmeyer-Bryan, a literacy teacher at Cape May City Elementary School.

We love that the community got involved and they’re donating silverware.

It was then that Kistler focused his attention to the utensils the students were using every day.

“We used to have metal, but we switched it because people would throw it away and everybody thought it was dangerous. But plastic is even more dangerous,” said Kistler.

“We figured we use about 80,000 pieces of plastic utensils every year," said Sandmeyer-Bryan. "So by cutting that out, even at this little school, that will make a difference.” 

They looked into getting grants to help cover the cost of getting the silverware needed, but instead they reached out to the community.

“A lot of people have been helping," said Kistler. "It’s not just the club, but the whole town is helping."

“We love that the community got involved and they’re donating silverware,” said Sandmeyer-Bryan.

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So much silverware has been donated that they are expected to start using it on Wednesday, February 28th, and the teacher couldn’t be more proud.

“I think one of our big goals is that they learn and then they put into practice what they learn. So I see one of my goals as opening up doors so they can see what they’re interested in," said Sandmeyer-Bryan. "I’m thrilled [and] so happy for him. We know we’re going to continue this so I think it’s great.” 

“It feels pretty good," said Kistler. "I didn’t think it would actually happen before I move, but it’s happening."

Theo’s dad is in the Coast Guard here in Cape May and they’ll be moving later on this week. 

However, the nine year old plans on bringing the idea of ditching the plastic utensils and replacing it with silverware to his new school in Ohio.

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