Where does this WASTE go?

»This is a good spot,« Frida thinks. »When I’m done with my lunch I can quickly go outside for recess.«

Today is Waste free Wednesday at school.  Some grown-ups and older kids help sorting the trash and explain why it is so important to do that. Frida has a jelly sandwich, some crackers and a mandarin in her lunchbox. She likes her lunch. Except: crust! There are so many seeds and crumbles on it. »Yikes!« She puts it back in her lunch box because Mom loves the crust and will eat it later. Her friend Sira doesn’t want her apple and the carrots so she throws it into the compost bin.

Frida’s and Theo’s school has three different waste bins:

Landfill, Recycling and Compost. Some kids have to stop at all bins and sort their trash. And every day the bins are pretty full. »Why is there so much waste every day?« Frida wonders and »Why is sorting it so important?«    

The sorting of trash is called diversion. If we would only use one bin it would all end in landfill and that would literally fill the land everywhere. Many materials can be recycled - like clean paper or cardboard, glass or aluminum and many different plastics. Look at the bottom of the package for a little triangle symbol. The number will tell you what kind of plastic it is. Only #6 is not recyclable and has to go into landfill.

It’s critical to recycle materials but the process consumes energy and some materials like plastic cannot be recycled more than once or twice. Paper can be recycled five to seven times. Only aluminum, metal and glass can be recycled over and over again – especially if you return intact bottles to a facility to be washed and refilled.

A very important thing is composting. That’s pretty easy – most kitchen food scraps and paper napkins are compostable – even whole pizza cartons! Together with yard waste (leaves and grass clippings) the compost waste is going to become good soil again and comes back to your garden. If compost is not diverted from landfill it will rot in there and produce lots of stinky methane, which is even worse than CO2.  

The most horrible things for our planet are single used and disposable plastics. So grab some tote bags and little produce bags when you join your grown-up to go grocery shopping. Look for stores or at the farmer’s market for stuff in bulk (that means without packaging).

 

At the supermarket Frida tries not to spill too much oatmeal on the floor. She fills the grains in a little cloth bag with a nice flower pattern. Her aunt has made the little bag and calls it upcycled-food-bag. »How many of these bags did Aunt Sally send us, mom?« she asks. »Oh well, a lot!« Mom responds with a smile. »And in all different sizes! I guess, she found some shirts, learned how to sew and has great fun making them.«

That’s a very good idea. Frida has a shirt with a hole that would make a great little shopping bag. »Or we can use some sheets we don’t need anymore and first print some pretty pattern ourselves before we cut our clothes.« Mom suggests.

Many times you don’t even need a bag, when foods like oranges, bananas, melons come in a natural packaging. Or do you eat the peel of a banana?! So nobody actually needs to put a melon in a plastic bag to then get it packed at the cash register in another plastic bag before leaving the store. Bring your beautiful reusable bags!    

Take Action!

Throw the trash in the right bin:

Food scraps // Plastic bags // Juice boxes // Straws // Napkins // Plastic utensils // Milk cartons //             Yogurts cups // Plastic bottles // Cans // Paper bags

Take Action!

Design these bags and use them as templates.

Take Action!

Print with apple, potato, and lemon on a paper to see how it looks. Repeating your print makes a nice pattern on our bag.