Bundle of plastic waste underwater

Earth Day: Planet vs. Plastics

How old will you be in 2040? The Earth Day(external link) theme for 2024 is “Planet vs. Plastics(external link),” and the people over at earthday.org have set a goal: “60% reduction in the production of all plastics by 2040”—that's just 16 years away!

These days, it’s easy to get clothing and other items quickly—but it costs our environment in a big way: 69% of all our clothes are made from synthetic fibers, and these account for 35% of the microplastics found in the ocean (this happens when we wash them). Let’s explore what this means for us and how we can help.

What we’ll do: During today’s hands-on workshop, we will teach you how to make pillows using materials you already have. You will walk away with your very own creation, the skills to make new things at home, and resources for where to go to learn more.

Who you’ll meet: We’ll be joined by two University educators who know a thing or two about sustainable textiles (creating new fabrics from used materials): Chiara Vincenzi from the School of Art & Design, and Sheri Glowinski from the Office of Student Sustainability.

What to bring: anything you can use! Old clothing, sheets, towels, buttons, sewing supplies...anything that you already have. Please don’t buy new items for this event, as we are focusing on sustainability and upcycling the old into something new.

Encouraged age: 7 and up (that's 23 or so by 2040 ). ALL AGES are of course welcome, and Science and Social Studies teachers/students are especially encouraged!

Image credit: Naja Bertoit Jensen on Unsplash

Download Event Flyer (PDF)

Illinois Arts Council wordmark in black and green

This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.


For further information on this event, contact Jadyn Laixely at or (217) 265-0888

All participants are welcome. To request disability-related accommodations for this event, please contact Brian Cudiamat at or (217) 244-5586.