Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Recycling with Betty

This new year, as I am trying to reduce excess material goods in my life, I fondly remember my first couple of summers at Runoia.  It was the mid 90’s and the environmental movement hadn’t really hit yet.  Well it hadn’t hit the rest of the country but it was alive and well with its roots in the Runoia trash house. Reduce, reuse, recycle was already the mantra and Betty Cobb its biggest proponent.

Betty_00There was no dumpster at camp back in those days and all the trash had to be hauled to the Belgrade transfer station.  As you can imagine at Runoia there were awesome systems in place even for trash management.  There was a compacter in the back of the kitchen.  I had never seen one before and to be honest the noises it made terrified me a little but it magically turned a large bag of garbage into a small square foot of squashed matter. Paper products were burned after the Saturday night cookouts (not really best practice these days).  Cups and plates were always stacked (and still are) to take up less room in the trash. Everything that could be reused or recycled was.

Betty was often found ensuring that the actual trash did not contain any recyclable items.  Her goal was not to terrify people into carrying their entire trash pile home with them but to educate us about the need to protect the earth’s resources.  She would often say that she was not doing it for herself but for the children as they would be the ones that would inherit the problems.

green-recycling-iconI am grateful for the lessons I learned even if I was called out in assembly because Betty had found an envelope with my name on it in the trash not the recycle! Sadly Betty’s concerns are now ringing true as we see the impact a lack of attention to resource management is having on our earth’s future.  I hope that the Runoia community will long continue to promote environmentally good practices and that it will become a life skill that our girls take home with them.

Make a difference in your home and community, just recycling is no longer enough what else can you do?

“If every household in the U.S. used just one less 70-sheet roll of paper towels, which would save 544,000 trees each year. If every household in the U.S. used three less rolls per year, it would save 120,000 tons of waste and $4.1 million in landfill dumping fees.” (From the Paperless Project). 


Read or watch the The Lorax with your kids it’s a great visual reminder!