Ditch the Disposables Campaign is a local effort in Fall River County, and specifically in Hot Springs, SD, to raise awareness regarding the consumption of disposable products and their negative impact on our health and the environment and to promote simple solutions to bring about positive change at a personal and community level to add to national and global efforts.
Hot Springs is a beautiful place to live and visit at the Southern entrance to the Black Hills. Though we may not see it everyday in our community, human impact to the environment has become so damaging that scientists are proposing it has pushed Earth from the Holocene geological epoch (started 12,000 yrs ago) to the Anthropocene. Some of the evidence listed includes humans putting so much plastic in our waterways and oceans that micro-plastic particles are now virtually everywhere, and plastics are likely leaving identifiable fossil records to be discovered by future generations. Over 1 million seabirds and marine mammals die each year from plastic ingestion and entanglement. Ancient forests are destroyed every day at record and alarming rates to supply timber, pulp and paper to the world. Styrofoam (trade name for Polystyrene) has equally negative effects on our environment and health. The EPA and the International Agency for Research on Cancer have established styrene as a possible human carcinogen. Styrofoam is non sustainable because it is made with petroleum and it is non-biodegradable; due to its weight it has accumulated along coasts and waterways worldwide and it is one of the main components of marine debris. A simple Google search on this topic will produce pictures that will speak volumes.
We do not want our city to remain unfazed. We agree with the statement that: “No matter what our attempts to inform are, it is our ability to inspire that will turn tides.” We want Hot Springs, SD to be an inspiring town to achieve sustainable ways of living. As evidenced by participation in local events to shape the direction of our city development, our community wants to move towards more sustainable ways of living.
We find inspiration in what other individuals, groups, towns & cities are doing. We adapt the idea to our context and we run with it inviting individuals, businesses and organizations in our community to join. An example of this was our first action in February of 2016 with the creation of the Hot Springs reusable shopping bags.
We collaborate with local organizations that work on issues that intersect with our interests to raise awareness, educate, and create change to reduce waste in our community. One example is the multiple and continued collaborations with the well established organization Keep Hot Springs Beautiful.
Whenever possible, we offer information about our activities and invite people to participate in any way they can, by changing their personal habits, by sharing information in their immediate circles or by volunteering for the campaign. One example of such set up is at the Hot Springs Farmer's Market that takes place at Centennial Park every Friday during the growing season.
From our small town in rural South Dakota, we join efforts at national and global scale with groups whose mission is to raise awareness about plastic waste & pollution, change corporate practices and address policy making. One such action was our participation, along with Keep Hot Springs Beautiful, in the Global Brand Audit Report organized by breakfreefromplastic.org in September 2018. Volunteers collected trash along Fall River, sorted it following guidelines and recorded the results to submit for the global report. The 10 most polluting brands were identified.
We reach out to national organizations that have created pertinent films and other visual resources which can help inspire change in our community and with the support of local businesses, like the Hot Springs Movie Theater, we host events like the showing of Living the Change during the local activities in honor of Earth Day in 2018.
In our small town, we get to know everyone so it is easy to ask for help and collaborate with artists and all kinds of creative people when we are organizing events or activities to raise awareness, as was the case during the the first Earth Day Expo in Hot Springs during April 2018. Painters, business owners, textile artists, sculptors, weavers and more joined with their talents in response to our invitation.
With our very limited resources and help of volunteers, we have created material to display in events like the Earth Day Expo and other indoor events so we can educate and raise awareness regarding the need to switch away from disposable goods that create pollution and affect our health.
We have created a couple of informational documents that we make available at events and permanently at the local shop 'Lucy and The Green Wolf', as well as online, for people who want to take a pledge for change and would like a simple guide to start switching from disposables to reusables.
From the inception of our Ditch the Disposables campaign, we have shared several times a week through our FB page information and images that can inspire change, relevant stories, announcements about our local events, invites to participate, encouragement posts, etc.
Some of the businesses we partner with, like Lucy and The Green Wolf, have ads on the local radio and their own mission intersects with ours so we collaborate by cross-promoting our activities and efforts and coordinating areas of focus during the year.
We locate ideas that can be implemented on projects in our community and we try to involve as many players as possible. One such example is our current Eco-Brick Creation project which started in November 2018 and has involved: the local library; a family that saves, cleans and delivers to us a standard size of bottles they keep from the trash or the recycling bin; local businesses that save plastic that comes their way instead of sending it to the landfill; our volunteers, who wash, dry and divert more plastic they end up with and fill empty bottles with it;
volunteers who work weekly with the children of the local Boys and Girls Club and create environmental educational activities to explore the ideas behind the eco-bricks (with an emphasis on refusing, reducing and reusing before recycling.) The volunteers assist with the design of the end result of the project (an eco-brick bench) and important concepts connected with it, as well as with the basic task of creating new eco-bricks. Once the team has created enough solid eco-bricks out of plastic waste, the volunteers and the children will create the bench. The team will be present in the Hot Springs Earth Day Expo 2019 showing their current work.
This is one of the educational resources we used to introduce the eco-brick concept to Hot Springs, SD children. Video by Brennan Bird Published on Oct 27, 2013
Tips on how-to make a bottle brick and lead a bottle brick campaign. For more info, please visit http://www.earthbench.org/how-to-bott... This video shows how-to make a bottle brick - a plastic bottle stuffed full of trash until it becomes compressed like a brick.
There's much we could do. We need all the eco-heroes we can inspire to join us. So, take your time, learn about us, think about all your skills, talents and passions and how they could be applied to add to what's been growing here. We hope we've managed to get your interest. Take a moment and drop us a line.
18 Local businesses & 19 individuals collectively purchased and distributed 654 reusable bags. Due to a printing error, we fortunately received twice the number of bags we originally ordered so we were able to give away most of these extra bags at various community events.
When we make a commitment to something that we are passionate about, anything is possible.
Take small manageable steps to create long-lasting changes and become an Eco-hero. We invite you to take the Pledge and make a monthly change of habits.
Scroll down to the downloadable file of the How to Switch to Disposables chart you see to the right.
We would love to connect with you. Feel free to visit during normal business hours at Lucy and The Green Wolf at 740 Jennings Ave, Hot Springs, SD .
2244 Minnekahta Avenue, Hot Springs, South Dakota 57747, United States
11:00 am – 06:00 pm
Hours for Rajni Lerman: By Appointment