Now more than ever, there seems to be a focus on making the inhabitants of Mother Earth more aware of how we treat our planet. From Starbucks banning its plastic straws in the very near future to Governor Andrew Cuomo introducing legislation for a state-wide ban on single-use plastic bags, it’s safe to say that we’re heading in the right direction.
To further the initiative of protecting the environment, Girl Scouts from Troop 1360 in Mineola recently completed their Girl Scout Silver Award, which involved creating a recycling program at Memorial and Wilson Park, right here within the village. Scouts Mary Dublynn, Catherine Pizzardi, Grace Pizzardi and Camille Sylvia met with Mayor Scott Strauss earlier this year to discuss their project. The girls made flowers that they cut from plywood and then painted and decorated the flowers with recycled plastic bottle caps and lids, which were installed at both parks to provide a place for park visitors to place their glass and plastic bottles for recycling.
“When I was at Wilson Park with my mom and sister, Grace, we noticed there were a lot of plastic bottles mixed in with the trash,” said Catherine Pizzardi. “I thought it would be good if there was a place to recycle the plastic bottles [so] we asked Mayor Strauss if we could start a recycling program.”
The Scouts were inspired to design their project by seeing similar “flowers” that were displayed as artwork at The Girl Scout Camp in Hampton Bays.
“Catherine and I thought why don’t we see if we can make those and put a hole in the center,” explained Grace Pizzardi. “That way people can put their empty plastic bottles through the hole and into a recycling pail. We wanted the flowers to be bright and fun to help encourage people to use the recycle pails [as well].”
Sylvia said that she noticed that the lack of recycling by others was starting to become a problem.
“I thought this project would be a fun way to raise awareness and help the environment,” said Sylvia. “I hope through these flowers, people will realize that recycling makes a difference.”
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), recycling does in fact conserve energy and natural resources. For an example, recycling one ton of office paper can actually save the energy equivalent of consuming 322 gallons of gasoline.
The EPA also suggests cardboard, paper, food boxes, mail, beverage and food cans, glass bottles, jugs, and plastic bottles and caps be placed only in recycling bins. Putting items in a recycling bin that can’t be recycled can actually contaminate the recycling stream.
“Anytime I go to the park there is a lot of trash on the ground,” said Dublynn. “Sometimes when people see it [the trash] they may throw it away, but won’t know what to do with the recyclables so they will throw that out too since there is nowhere else to put it. Because of this, my Silver Award team and I were inspired to do something that not only cleans up the Earth, but makes you feel good knowing you too can take care of the planet with the simplest acts.”