It’s Easy Being Green

July 14, 2017

There is a drastic need for humanity to re-evaluate how they approach ‘going green.’ For example, Canadians bring home more than 55 million plastic bags per week.

It’s easy being green, and with a passionate young guide like Mackenzie Kerr (YAC Rep, Prince George, British Columbia) to lead the way, it’s as simple as 1-2-3.

  1. Reduce your waste footprint
  2. Reuse- Repair and renew instead of replacing
  3. Recycle and compost with your 4-H club!

Instead of using plastic bags, Mackenzie suggested we make our own grocery bags out of recycled t-shirts. Delegates in this session got crafty, had some fun and tapped into their creative side to make their own unique t-shirt bags! This fun activity can easily be taken back to any 4-H club around the world.

To get started, first, choose a topic that’s important and realistic in your area. 4-H British Columbia has 36 programs in six categories, where 4-H’ers can do everything from planting vegetable, community or even butterfly gardens. There are also educational competitions that help bring awareness of the importance of gardening and the environment, and new on-line enrollment means less paper!

What was the last thing you threw in the garbage? You might be surprised to know that most things can be recycled and don’t need to take up space in a landfill.  Think before you throw away next time.

Since 1950 Canadians have produced as much garbage as all generations before, Mackenzie informed the crowd. Of the 60 per cent of waste in an average landfill, 17 per cent is made up of paper and cardboard which, as we all know, can be easily recycled.

Mackenzie then gave out a challenge to her audience. Become aware of unnecessary pre-packaged items, refuse to accept any plastic bags and say no to free-swag items wrapped in plastic.

Reuse: Think about repairing rather than replacing. For example, get your phone screen fixed rather than replacing it or refinishing old furniture to make it look brand new.

Recycle: If you don’t have curb-side recycling you probably have a depot where you can take newspapers, cans, bottles, plastic, cardboard and other recyclables. Making the effort to recycle helps keep waste out of the landfill.  Also, 4-H clubs can do bottle drives to clean up their communities and raise some funds for your club.

And finally, compost. 60 percent of landfill waste is organic. By composting, you can significantly reduce the methane gas that is emitted by rotting organic waste. You can make your own compost bin or purchase a pre-made one for $20-100 CND. Throw your carrot tops and greens into the compost during the year and you’ll end up with some nutrient rich soil to add to your garden next spring.

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