Written By: Nina Bhattacharyya, ACEL Microgrant Recipient
Where does our trash go after it’s tossed? This simple question has prompted communities and individuals across the world to rethink how they handle waste and adopt practices that minimize the garbage they send to landfills. I first learned about the zero waste movement through blogs that provide information and resources for leading a no-waste lifestyle. I am amazed by the number of people who are able to fit 5+ years of trash in a single mason jar! As a life-long environmentalist, I decided to adopt many of the zero waste practices into my own life and revise my consumption habits to reuse and repurpose items.
When I learned about Gainesville’s move to adopt zero-waste goals, I knew I wanted to be involved and to show that the community is behind this effort. I decided to start a group called Zero Waste Gainesville that focuses on raising awareness about zero waste policies and lifestyle. Thanks to the ACEL microgrant program, I was able to launch a website and establish a presence on social media. Through this experience, I have developed new skills in design and messaging that will continue to serve me well professionally and through the community initiative. I understand the importance of having this skill set to organize movements, inform people about important issues, and share how they can get involved. In addition, a big part of the effort to raise awareness about zero waste has been to network and join forces with other partners. I have developed relationships with organizations that have similar goals, and together we are growing the zero waste movement locally and reaching a broader audience. I am proud to say that ACEL is one of the partners who supports zero waste policies, and the microgrant program has been instrumental in helping launch the initiative.
You may be asking yourself, has this made a difference? Through our outreach efforts, we had our first success! On October 26, 2017, the city voted unanimously in favor of adopting zero waste goals. This was the first key step in Gainesville becoming a zero waste city. In the coming months, Zero Waste Gainesville will continue to advocate for implementing the zero waste goals, such as passing a plastic bag and styrofoam ban. Visit our website and follow us on Facebook to keep up with the latest information and action items!