Update: The kick-off event is now free for everyone.
Zero Waste Week on Orcas Island kicks off April 2 with a screening of three short documentaries made by local filmmaker and activist Dylan D’Haeze, 14, at The Sea View Theatre.
“I’m excited to see the kids having a whole week of zero waste for the entire island. That’ll be super fun,” D’Haeze said. “I think it’ll be good having another screening here and to try to get the kids to realize the impact they’re having … and hopefully try to make them motivated enough to really want to do something.”
Following the films, there will be a Q&A session with D’Haeze and guest speakers, including Zero Waste Washington Executive Director Heather Trim.
“She was very instrumental in getting these ordinances passed in Seattle and around Washington, banning various things like that – plastic bags and plastic utensils and to-go plastics,” D’Haeze’s mom Dawn said.
Zero Waste Week is an initiative that was started by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as a way for students to teach and encourage other students and their communities to protect the environment by reducing their waste.
Dawn said that Salmonberry School and Orcas Christian School will be participating in a variety of events throughout the week, including learning how to make cotton napkins and beeswax wraps. The students will also be taught how to make lip balms and deodorants by Carol Anderson of Magic Island Herbals. Dawn said the older students will partner up with younger ones to go talk to local restaurants about using more reusable products such as straws and utensils.
Local businesses have organized their own green teams, like the Island Market, whose group began about a year ago.
“The idea of a Zero Waste Week is exciting to us because of the exposure it gives to promoting doing the right thing,” said Jacob Linnes, general manager of the Island Market. “Our hope is it gets more people and businesses involved every week.”
The market’s green team meets monthly to discuss areas where the store is doing a good job of waste reduction and where it could improve. Linnes said the group brainstorms ideas, vets them and pitches the ideas to management.
“We love this because it involves our whole store and gives employees an opportunity to be a part of something they are passionate about and [lets them] make a difference in our store and community,” Linnes said.
The Island Market will have 100 free sustainable jute bags available for the first customers who mention Zero Waste Week.
“This is a huge area of focus for our green team this year,” Linnes said. “I would tell other businesses that don’t already have a program set up to get their employees involved. Make it fun but find employees that are passionate about the cause. A lot of little things add up to big things.”