FORT POLK, La. — Editor’s note: This is the first of a series of Guardian articles focusing on community members that are making a difference by recycling, reusing or rethinking about waste products and contributing to a Net Zero lifestyle. They are “Net Zero Heroes.”
Isabelle Hernandez, a Fort Polk Family member, 12, has been recycling for the last few years at home. In October 2011, she came up with a new idea to save — snack bag hair bows. In less than five minutes, Hernandez can turn a waste product into a fashion statement with some twisting, fastening and tying.
“I had a candy wrapper one day and I started twisting it different ways to make a hair bow. I thought that if it worked with one, it would work with others. I’m also reusing them instead of throwing them away,” she said. She wore one almost every day at school after that.
Since her initial creation, Hernandez’s peers and friends have asked where she bought her bows. When they found out she was making each one, they asked her to make some bows for them. She even taught her friends how to make the bows.
While the bows can make a fashion statement, Hernandez said she hopes they are also an environmental statement. “Maybe now my friends and other students will think before they throw something away,” she said.
Hernandez’s mother, Lillian, said she wasn’t surprised to see her daughter making the bows. “She’s always been creative. What surprised me most was that she chose to reuse materials and how popular the idea became among her classmates,” she said.
Hernandez has plans to continue to reuse waste products. “I saw a girl one day with a bag made out of Capri Sun bags. I hope to do something similar. Ideas still come to me, but I haven’t decided yet to do a specific thing,” she said.
If someone within your community is implementing the concepts of rethink, reduce, reuse and recycle, nominate them as a Net Zero Hero by emailing email@example.com.