Isn't it nice when a small group of people have a significant impact on the community? In our times, concerns for the environment have often been addressed by the community by bringing people together to raise awareness and contribute positively to society. One of those groups in Fredericton's community is the Waste-free Warriors.
Waste-free Warriors was started this past Spring. It was pioneered by Shelby Harnish, whose vegan lifestyle got her into waste-free living.
"Veganism is mainly about compassion for animals, but it can, in turn, play a huge part in your view on the environment," said Harnish.
Harnish was nominated to receive an award at New Brunswick's 2019 Eco Hero Gala.
"When you are so passionate about the Earth, you do these things not for the attention of others but to truly make an impact on the preservation of our planet because you whole-heartedly care."
Harnish's waste-conscious living attracted the attention of many. Her desire to make a difference in the community led her to the creation of the group.
Waste-free Warriors is a drop-in group of volunteers that share a common interest of a cleaner and greener future. The group does not have any type of financial support, and their walks are on a drop-in basis. However, Harnish said if the group grows tremendously she will reach out to companies to sponsor them with garbage bags, reusable gloves, garbage pickers, buckets and more.
"There is no commitment necessary for our events; just show up and do your part," said Harnish.
With the creation of the group, Harnish intended to educate and bring awareness to how simple waste-free living can be if you are committed to the planet.
The waste-free walks are more than just cleaning the streets. Harnish said she is present in all of the walks. She challenges volunteers with a new waste-free task each week to implement into their daily lives. Harnish has also organized clothing swaps in the past, and she hopes she can host information sessions in the coming months.
The walks during the fall season started on October 1st and will end on October 22nd. The walks start at 6:00 pm, and you can send a message to their Facebook page—Waste-free Warriors—if you have any location recommendations!
The amount of litter collected depends on the area and the number of people volunteering, collecting an average of three to four bags of garbage in an hour.
The majority of litter is from fast-food restaurants and cigarette butts. Cigarette butts are incredibly abundant.
"I am considering holding a challenge for how many butts we can collect in an hour alone, it's sickening!" said Harnish.
Waste-free Warriors is also partnering with UNB Sustainability and WWF to host a cleanup all around the greater campus area on Thursday, October 10th.
Waste-conscious living tips
- Use reusable bags for any type of shopping;
- Purchase at bulk food stores in your area (use jars);
- Avoid plastic packaging;
- If you must buy packaged, make sure the plastic is recyclable and recycled correctly;
- Compost any food scraps;
- Use reusable water bottles, coffee mugs, and straws;
- Buy second hand, limit your closet, participate in clothing swaps and donate old clothing.