Love the Earth, Take Care of the Earth: A Message from the Zero Waste Team

By Jeanett Jansen, Zero Waste Team 

The Environmental Center is constantly challenging students to make the earth a better place one task at a time. That is why we have several different teams focusing on separate missions. The Zero Waste Team – the team I am on – focuses on the idea of reducing first, then reusing, and then recycling. Sometimes there can be a pretty gray area between what can and can’t be recycled and what recycling category it falls under. Even I have trouble with recycling, and its literally my job.

Our Zero Waste Team is working on a campus wide waste assessment to get to the root of our campuses waste problem. The goal is to measure how much recycling is dumped into the trash so we can come up with an achievable solution to reducing waste. I believe the key components to effective environmentalism are:

• Education
• Mindfulness
• Involvement

I try my best to walk the walk, but it is not easy in the world we live in today. Effective environmentalism starts with education. We need the proper knowledge of “how to” in order to make a difference. Guessing which basket to dump your pizza box or coffee cup in will most likely end in contamination (because pizza boxes and coffee cups cannot be recycled). Learn the proper ways to be an environmentalist! Which leads to the next component: mindfulness.

Be aware of what you are buying, consuming and throwing away. Education makes you notice waste and gives you the proper tools to take action, and mindfulness keeps you alert. Now all you need to do is get involved! Come to the EC to get properly educated on environmentalism, and learn how you can get involved! We have several opportunities here to get you connected.

My main job for the Zero Waste Team is managing the Free Store on Thursday’s from 12 – 2 p.m. Participating in this is a great way to reduce waste by keeping the cycle going. It functions on input from donations and output from you all getting FREE STUFF. Last year alone we saved FLC students $3,800 worth of merchandise value and over 600,000 gallons of virtual water from not buying new goods!

Being a good environmentalist doesn’t mean you have to be involved in an extravagant way, but it’s important to realize that small actions can lead to great changes!

Love the earth – take care of the earth.

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