Essex Girl Scout Troop 30136 is making it easier to find places to fill up reusable water bottles in the greater Burlington area to help reduce consumption of plastic containers.
The effort is part of the troop’s silver award, the second highest award a cadette can earn after gold.
The girls will work with a company called Tap, a startup focused on eliminating single-use plastic water bottles, to map businesses and locations with public access to fresh drinking water for people to fill up. The data will be loaded into Tap’s mobile app for anyone to use.
“It’s like Google Maps for clean drinking water,” Tap representative Amanda Denison said.
Denison said she was looking for motivated student groups in her community to help with the startup’s effort. She found the Girl Scout troop through Front Porch Forum and was inspired by the girls’ bronze award project, Girl Scouts DIY.
That project, created by Scouts Avery McCaffery, Abby Culver and Nora Robertson, is a set of YouTube videos aimed at educating the public about the dangers of plastic, troop leader Marianne Robertson explained. The videos also feature an “upcycled” craft that saves everyday household plastic products, like straws, from going to the landfill.
“[Denison] said she needed a proactive group, and the girls’ vision has been the same as what their mission is,” Robertson said. “It’s right up their alley.”
The troop has met with Denison several times and, most recently, acted out skits to practice how to approach businesses and ask them to participate in Tap, the troop leader said. They will make a more detailed plan over the winter break and start their quest in the new year.
All the girls in the troop feel passionately about protecting the planet with eco-friendly solutions. Other projects they’ve worked on include hosting a recycling/upcycling-themed car at the Halloween trunk or treat and collecting over 160 pounds of trash at the Seacoast Beach cleanup in New Hampshire this fall.
Nora Robertson said she’s excited to continue her troop’s work in educating people about the dangers of plastic waste. She said she’s watched a lot of videos on plastic pollution, and it’s inspired her and her troop to do something about it.
“It’s sad seeing videos of whales coming up to shore with tons of plastic [in their stomachs],” Nora said. “It’s not an animal that killed them; it’s us that killed them.”
Nora said the girls will continue to use the video medium because it’s quick and easy for people to understand. To make the silver award project unique, she said her brother, Grant, will help the troop create videos about the Tap app to inspire other Girl Scouts and students to use it and promote it to their local community.
She hopes the videos inspire others to make more informed choices about the materials they use, especially plastic. Nora said her family has already eliminated plastic water bottles and straws. And with the holidays coming up, she’s opting to make handmade gifts with found materials as opposed to creating more waste with new products.
As for reducing plastic on a global scale?
“It might take a while,” Nora said. But she’s hopeful.