Bags with a Special Mission

Silvia Cristina Umaña Martínez

Participants will be encouraged to consider their environmental responsibilities. Then they will make bags using old newspapers. They will agree to distribute their bags once they have finished them. As everyone hands in their bag, they will strive to raise awareness to avoid polluting the land and trees with trash.

Materials for every 4 or 5 people

  • A full newspaper, calculating 2 sheets of newspaper per person
  • 2 large pots of glue
  • 2 scissors
  • A pen or pencil
  • A piece of cardboard (to place at the bottom of the bag to shape it. Then you can remove it).
  • Approximately 4 meters of string, ribbon or cardboard to make the handles (76 centimeters per person)
  • 3 permanent markers (red, blue and green)
  1. Welcome to the place where we create special quest bags!
  2. Stand up and stand in this area together, to listen to the instructions of what you will do:

Listening carefully to some statements, if you agree, move towards the wall to your right. If you disagree, move to the wall to your left. If you have no idea, you can stay in the middle of the room.

  1. Ready?
  2. Pay attention! (Facilitator reads the list of statements)
  3. If you agreed with the last statement, it’s time to make your special mission bags.
  4. Have you found out what are the special missions of your bags? (After listening for a moment) You’re right! Your bags will help save the planet.

Instructions to start making the newspaper bags:

  1. Arranged in that space you can see a stack of newspapers along with all the other materials you will need to make your bags. (It is up to the facilitator, depending on the amount of materials, how each group will be able to distribute them).
  2. The most efficient way to work is through an assembly line, so you can organize yourselves.
  3. You will have 45 minutes to create your bags.
  4. If you already have your materials and are organized to work, pay attention to the demonstration to go step by step making the first bags (the facilitator stands up and demonstrates, step by step, the making of the bags). Let’s do it!
  5. You have done a great job making your special mission bags! They deserve a round of applause.
  6. Now only one detail is missing. With one of the markers on your table, write the following message on both sides of the bag:



  1. At the end, there will be an assembly time to plan the delivery strategy for bags for special missions.

( Trash Bags , n.d.)

  • This activity has three parts: a short self-examination stage, the creation of newspaper bags and the time to distribute them, while becoming aware of not polluting God’s creation with garbage.
  • Keep in mind that this activity must raise awareness, primarily, in those who will manufacture the newspaper bags.
  • To raise awareness, you have a list of statements about the effect of solid waste on trees. (You can find it in the diagrams or illustrations section of this activity).
  • You will take 15 minutes to read each statement aloud and give participants an opportunity to agree or disagree. Instead of speaking, they will express their opinion by moving to one side or the other in the room. If they really don’t know about the subject, they can stay in the middle. If possible, delimit the spaces beforehand.
  • All statements about solid waste degradation time are actual data. The purpose is to give them the impression that some waste can last thousands or hundreds of years without degrading.
  • Take a couple of minutes, at the end of the agree/disagree activity, to clarify the doubts of those who were left standing in the middle.
  • Do not allow them to keep telling anecdotes or commenting on each statement. The time is only to show agreement or disagreement.
  • In advance, prepare a space where the necessary materials to make the bags are.
  • If the group is very large, divide it into small groups (ideally 4 or 5 people), with an assistant to direct and supervise them while they make their bags and when they go out to deliver them.
  • While they are making the bags they will be able to share their opinions, anecdotes and experiences in a natural way. Ask a few questions to spark this conversation as you work.
  • Visual instructions for making the bags are in the diagrams and illustrations section. Try to have at least one bag made for you to show off before they start making their own bags.
  • Go from table to table supervising the work and listening to their comments.
  • Please take the time to explain to the bag manufacturers that they will not be able to put heavy objects (glass or metal, for example) in them. Nor will they be able to put objects that spill any liquid. Explain to them that because they are newspaper, the bags can fall apart if they get wet or carry very heavy objects.
  • The last part of this activity is left to the discretion of the organizers. They can give their bags to other people who have attended the same event or they can go to a bus terminal or the entrance of a natural park.



  1. I often buy and drink water in plastic bottles.
  2. Every day, millions of aluminum cans are used and discarded around the planet.
  3. Millions of people depend on fresh water generated by forests.
  4. A chewing gum can take up to 5 years to degrade in the middle of a forest.
  5. Littering in a forest has no consequences for the animals that live in it.
  6. Have I ever called someone out for littering where they shouldn’t.
  7. A plastic bottle can remain for up to a thousand years in the place of nature where it was left.
  8. If I’m on a means of transport and I finish my soda, I throw the can out the window.
  9. It doesn’t bother me at all to see plastic bags, soda bottles, and grocery wrappers lying around trees.
  10. A sheet of paper can take up to 5 months to degrade.
  11. I know and practice the classification of my garbage into organic, inorganic and toxic waste.
  12. An aluminum can can remain polluting nature for up to 100 years without degrading.
  13. I have ever picked up garbage from a park or forest, even if it wasn’t me who threw it.
  14. Glass is less harmful to nature than plastic.
  15. Pollution in the soil harms the nutrients of the trees and these are damaged until they die.
  16. Sometimes I have carried garbage with me until I found a suitable place to deposit it.
  17. If there are no garbage cans nearby, I have no choice but to throw my garbage on the ground.
  18. A glass bottle can last up to 4,000 years just by contaminating nature, without degrading.
  19. I am responsible for doing something to prevent garbage pollution from harming God’s creation.
  1. I can start today, creating bags of newspaper to distribute to others and invite them to deposit their own garbage there and pick up any other they find where it should not be.

The statements about the degradation time of solid waste are real data (taken from ) ( How long does it take for solid waste to degrade? waste , 2017)

(Nath, Sayantani, 2019):

Bags with special missions, Newspaper bags for garbage, (Umaña Martinez, Silvia, 2021a)

( Trash Bags , n.d.)

Waste degradation time ( How long does it take for waste to degrade , 2017)

How to recycle old newspaper (Nath, Sayantani, 2019)

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