Half the waste generated at Squaxin was successfully diverted from the landfill, thanks to the help of 375 Green Team volunteers who worked 2,110 hours. These volunteers could be found throughout the community supervising waste stations, transporting waste, and sorting through bags, all to ensure that Squaxin recycled and composted as much waste as possible. Volunteers spent countless hours under a blazing August sun sorting out recyclables.
The Green Team, overseen by the Solid Waste and Recycling Program, was a group organized for Canoe Journey to help minimize waste, conserve water, provide environmentally safe cleaning opportunities, and educate the community about honoring Mother Earth. Waste was minimized by composting food scraps, paper plates, and napkins. Compostable tableware was ordered for the dining tent to ensure it would not sent to the landfill. As a result, nearly 15 tons of waste was composted. We were also able to recycle:
• 8,340 lbs of cardboard
• 4,290 lbs of bottles and tin cans
• 910 lbs of used cooking oil
• 300 lbs of aluminum cans
• 150 lbs of mixed paper
• 100 lbs of plastic wrap
• 100 lbs of plastic lids and tubs
• 60 lbs of camping gears
In addition, there were 285 pounds of used construction materials donated to Thurston County high school musical programs.
Much waste was prevented because it was never generated in the first place. For example, the food committee used reusable food trays rather than disposable aluminum trays that have been used at past journeys, and the media committee chose to print fewer informational booklets to ensure less waste.
Water was conserved by providing reusable water bottles and water-filling stations. Guests were encouraged to refill their water bottles rather than throwing away disposable water bottles still full of water.
Donated earth-friendly cleaning supplies were used in the laundry and shower units in the campground. The janitorial staff also used earth-friendly cleaning supplies, and each Canoe Family was gifted with a sample of products for use.
Activities were provided for youth throughout the week to learn about environmental stewardship. Activities focused on recycling, waterways, and plant identification, taught our young people what they can do to honor Mother Earth.