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Distance Learning

Less Waste at the Holidays

Reusing paper bags as wrapping paper is one alternative to buying new gift wrap.

What we throw away is important to consider at all points of the year. It becomes a little more relevant at winter holiday time, though.

Some people celebrate December holidays with gift-giving and big meals. We love food and gifts, but sometimes they make a lot of trash. To celebrate without trash, we can try to use what we already have.

If we do make trash, where does it go? To find out, read about my trip to the landfill. It really motivated me to make less waste!

Here are some suggestions for celebrating a zero-waste winter holiday!

Gift-giving:

A friend made Darcy this tree ornament by hand. She loves it!
  1. Make presents for your people with materials you have at home: this can be hand sewing scraps of fabric to make a handkerchief, baking some yummy treats, or drawing or painting a present! Handmade presents are affordable, meaningful, and not wasteful!
    Here are some ideas.
  2. Wrap presents in recycled materials: I like to wrap presents for my loved ones in paper bags from the store. You can also buy wrapping paper at the store that is made from 100% recycled paper, but try to use paper you have on hand first if you can.
  3. Carefully unwrap presents without tearing the paper so you can reuse the wrapping next year!
  4. Give people items you already have that are meaningful to you: Give your friends a book you loved to read, a sweater you’ve cherished, anything you don’t have to go out and buy!

Holiday food:

What are some ways you can cut down on food waste? Image: pch.vector – www.freepik.com
  1. Your holiday gatherings might be smaller this year because of the pandemic. Think ahead about how much food you want to make. Scale your meal down from what you normally make if there are fewer people this year. That way, there will be less leftover food that could go bad sitting in the refrigerator.
  2. Package up whatever food isn’t eaten on the holiday in reusable containers and put it in the fridge for later. You can eat those tasty leftovers for a while without having to cook more food. If you don’t think you can eat the leftovers in a few days, you can put food in the freezer to save for later. If your holiday meal does go bad, try composting it instead of throwing it in the trash.
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Distance Learning Young Naturalists Club

Are you wearing plastic?

A microfiber sweatshirt.

Have you ever thought about the clothes you buy and wear? Do you ever wonder where they are made or what materials were used to make them? It turns out that what we wear impacts the planet.

A very common material that is used to make most of our clothing comes from something called microfibers. You have probably heard of, seen, or used microfiber products. These days they are everywhere!

And believe it or not, microfiber clothes are plastic.

“The Story of Stuff” explains what microfibers are and where they end up.

Fleece is probably the most popular example of microfiber. You might have a fleece jacket, pants, or blanket. Microfibers are also used in cleaning products, like as towels and mop pads.

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Uncategorized

Virtual Field Trip: Athens-Hocking Recycling Center

Wondering where all of your waste is going? This week on our virtual field trip, we’re exploring what happens to your recyclables once they arrive at the recycling center. You’ll see some cool machines, and finally learn WHY you can recycle plastic bottles but not a plastic bag.

Look at all of those recyclables!

Join us via Zoom this Friday! We’ll teach you all about the basics of recycling, show off some cool machinery, and give you lots of tips and tricks you can use to make your household greener!

This free event is for youth, adults, and families. It’s led by Rural Action’s Environmental Education and Zero Waste staff.

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Distance Learning Young Naturalists Club

What’s even better than recycling?

Hello Young Naturalists!

This week is all about waste and how to make make less of it!  We will learn how to practice the 3 R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle)--even if you think you already recycle.

First, we have to understand just what waste is! You’ll see that waste has changed over time and that it can be challenging to responsibly manage our waste.

We’ll challenge you to the most creative ‘reuse’ ideas you can think of. And there are instructions to make fun game that you can play alone or with your friends.

Then, you can test your recycling know-how!

Waste in Our World

Let’s talk about it…

What Did Waste Look Like Way in the Past?

Most of the waste this man produced could decompose or be reused. Same for the horse. Photo: “HorseBuggy_MainST_c1902_2” by Small Town OK

In the “olden days,” our waste looked different than it does now.

Before the invention of plastic and many chemicals used today, people’s waste was mostly made from natural types of things. Basic things. When they were thrown away, they could pretty easily “biodegrade” (safely break down in the environment).