So grateful to Elinor to coming and leading our Girl Scout troop last weekend at my house!
Elinor is a volunteer and one of the main people behind Alta-Pasa Green Circle, an organization that helps our local Farmer’s Market be zero-waste! You can read more about Alta-Pasa Green Circle here. Alta-Pasa Green Circle is a booth that is responsible for bringing reusable items to the farmer’s market, so vendors and food booths can feed their customers waste-free. To do this, they themselves (and volunteers), wash all the dishes for all the other booths. They also do an “inventory” of all trash produced, creating awareness to the farmer’s markets customers (and vendors) on what waste they produce.
So, Elinor brought her knowledge and passion for zerowaste to our Girl Scout troop. She asked that the girls all collect their trash for a week before the meeting, then bring their trash with them. She showed us how to sort our trash, what diffrent plastics are made of, and what bin they go in when you throw them away.
For snacks, me and my mom put together a zero-waste food spread. We made homemade muffins in reusable silicone muffin cups, and a banana bread loaf in a silicone bread tray. We went to Sprouts bulk food aisle and brought our own container to get candy, we got juice in glass bottles, we had reusable cups, plates, napkins, and metal straws (Save the turtles!) and hummus and cucumbers. Almost entirely trash free!
One thing that Elinor told us was that sometimes you have to take apart items before you recycle them. For example, tissue boxes have the plastic attached to the opening, and the rest of the box is completely cardboard. You can’t recycle the whole tissue box, because of the plastic. But if you take a minute to tear out the small piece of plastic, you can recycle the box! Also the paper bags for like, cookies, have a small window on the front that is covered in plastic, and the rest of the box is clean paper. Just tear out the plastic window and you can recycle the paper bag! Although make sure the innocent looking paper doesn’t have a plastic lining! Then it goes straight to the landfill.
Something that Elinor told us that really shocked me, was that you should try your best to not touch receipts. It’s because receipts are printed on thermal paper and lines with endocrine-disrupting chemical bisphenol-A, a type of chemical that can absorb through human skin when exposed to it, and can possibly cause cancer, tumors, and birth defects. It’s very rare, but if you‘re touching receipts every day, you should be a little more careful.
And did you know those chemicals show up in recycled toilet paper!? And that those chemicals are extra absorbent against wet skin?! My mom was buying TP from recycled materials for years thinking that was a better option! Thankfully, she recently switched to TP made from bamboo.
Elinor also told us about how recycling isn’t getting recycled anymore – mostly, anyway. So, really, the best bet is try to live waste free as much as possible – that we need to stop thinking that we are eco-friendly because most of our waste goes in the recycle bin.
There were so many other things she taught us, it’s hard to write it all down. Thank you so much to her for teaching us how to contribute to helping our environment! I actually learned a lot, and so did my friends! I think it was eye-opening looking at our trash, and I think we all came away from it thinking of ways we could create less trash.
Also, congrats to AltaPasa Green Circle for receiving a grant from Patagonia! I’m so happy this little business is becoming a new movement!