All through Girl Guides, we encourage girls to take action to protect the planet, and that mantra has slowly started making its way into other parts of my life. After making some changes at home this summer I started thinking about just how much plastic waste we create in our units on a weekly basis. There’s lot of things we might not think about – between balloons at enrolment, fun foam hearts on Valentine’s Day, plastic plates and crafts made from Styrofoam cups, we use and throw out more plastic than we realize each year in our units.
When we asked our Brownies what areas they wanted to focus on this year and what they were interested in, they all said they wanted to learn more about the environment and protecting the animals that live in it. This wasn’t a surprise to us as youth are spearheading the climate change movement by taking part in things like the climate strike and speaking out for the future of our planet.
Reducing the amount of plastic you use or choosing to go plastic-free can be overwhelming in the beginning. It can also seem expensive with all the new items on the market (fabric table cloths and napkins, reusable shopping bags, stainless steel straws, fancy reusable jars and coffee cups) but many of these items can be made by girls themselves or done away with all together.
Here are some ideas tips to get you on your way to a plastic-free party or meeting:
- Ask your girls for ideas on going plastic-free! They will have tons of ideas on how to reduce their plastic consumption in meetings.
- Evaluate whether an item is necessary or if you can do without it (do you really need glitter on that craft?). Let girls lead the way with deciding what materials they want to use.
- Have the girls bring in their camp dishes to meetings where you are serving food.
- Create reusable decorations that you can use year after year like the better than balloons activity, these could be as simple as glass jar lanterns with candles in them or paper lanterns (these can be folded down small for storage).
- Reconsider making disposable (throw away) crafts – make a craft that can be used again later, such as decorating cutlery to use at camp, make sit-upons, sew little bags to carry dues, reusable book or grocery bags from t-shirts or beeswax wraps.
- Do the Plastic-Free Party Instant Meeting on the program platform.
Guest post by Jamie Franzmann. Jamie (also known as Snowy Owl) is a Guider with a Brownie unit in Halifax and is the current Program Adviser for Nova Scotia.