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Less Means More: Fewer Toys Equals Better Development

Trash Talk By BETH TURNER
Tulsa Master Recyclers Association

FAVORITE ECO MEMORY: My favorite moment of Trash Talk 2017 was reporting on McAuliffe Elementary and Katie Plohocky’s partnership to eliminate school lunch food waste. Students organize the daily compostable program. Plohocky’s team picks up the waste each day and delivers it to her farm animals for dinner. The Natural Resource Defense Council reports that 40 percent of food made is thrown away. Trash Talk salutes McAuliffe and Plohocky at lowering those statistics one meal at a time.


BETH TURNER for GTR NEWSPAPERS


It made my recycling heart happy to see a 2017 study indicating that access to fewer toys results in longer, more meaningful playtimes for toddlers. Researchers at the University of Toledo released a report in November showing “an abundance of toys present reduced quality of toddlers’ play.” As we work hard to balance what we need with using less stuff, it’s nice to see research bolstering that less stuff equates to good parenting.

Perfect timing for this study as we seek to delight our loved ones with gifts. So, for the toddler in your life, a great gift can mean wrapping up your wrapping supplies of boxes, tape and markers, adding in some old bed sheets and you’ve got a tent making kit that will ignite the imagination for hours.

Eco Glitter
Our nieces came to Tulsa to catch one of their favorite acts coming through town, and after only 24 hours, our house hasn’t been free of glitter since. It got me thinking about its environmental impact. A 2017 study found domestic and commercial filters do not capture glitter. Another study shows one third of our marine life now contains micro plastic particles, as well as congeals into a plastic island in our oceans, seas and lakes. While glitter’s environmental impact is still under investigation, a ban has been proposed on this beloved/hated party favor.

There are several great options for biodegradable, compostable glitter that’s even healthy for skin instead of detrimental like the petroleum-based glitter commonly found in craft stores. While you may still find flecks for the rest of your life, for the glitter-lover in your life, check out companies such as Enviro Glitter, Eco Star Dust, Glitter Revolution, Nurture Soap and Eco Glitter Fun.

An Eco Thank You
For nearly a decade, Kristen McCormick’s company, Shikoba Recycling, stood in the gap between Tulsa’s landfill and our recyclables. Now that Tulsa has available large-scale commercial, residential, and event recycling options McCormick is hanging up the trash truck to pursue filling new gaps she sees that we need.

We here at Trash Talk are grateful to Kristen nearly beyond words. I personally have been one of the thousands of students and adults McCormick has taught about recycling, compost, environmental quality control and so much more. She has been a part of the program to hire people with criminal backgrounds, and she helped spearhead recycling at the Route 66 Marathon and the Tulsa State Fair.

Simplifying Your Own Life
What positive habit have you created for yourself in 2017? We deserve to look back at our accomplishments, both great and small, from helping clean up rivers and streams around town to remembering your to-go bag for nearly all your 2017 shopping trips.

I asked Facebook friends how they’ve reduced stress in their lives with the power of reducing waste. One friend said using a reusable K-cup for the Keurig helped his peace of mind and pocketbook. Another friend reports saving time and money by reducing her make-up routine each morning, which allows her to buy healthier beauty products that are eco-friendlier. Another great post comes from a friend who started participating in Meatless Mondays, which reduces her carbon footprint and her blood pressure.

I appreciate the pause this time of year to honor our struggles and efforts we endured over the past year. I commend each of you for sticking with eco-efforts. Some days it’s a struggle to see the positive impact you make. But make no doubts, your efforts are worth it, and they are valuable and commendable. May your 2018 be full of positive moments that bring you peace and security.

Send your 2017 accomplishments and your 2018 resolutions to bethturner@me.com, or on Twitter @TrashTalkTulsa.

Updated 01-08-2018

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