The little things can make a big difference. Zoe Mueller, a 13-year-old Mount Dora Girl Scout, noticed how many plastic bags her family brought home from the grocery. The curious eighth-grader began to research the use of these bags and became disturbed about the problems they pose to marine life and the environment. “I was struck by how plastic bags are so hard to get rid of, so as time passes the problem gets bigger,” said Mueller. Mueller jumped into action and created a proactive approach to reduce the number of plastic bags and increase awareness of the environmental problem. The bright-eyed teen went to work to design a website, logo and decal to place in windows of local retailers who adopt a policy not to use plastic bags. Many downtown Mount Dora merchants already only provide paper bags and they, too, will be given the decal. The eighth-grader plans to kick off the program the first week in September by approaching downtown Mount Dora businesses and handing out decals. The impressive teen is hoping her local effort will be used as a pilot program for other communities.
ABOVE: Logo designed by Mueller to appear on window cling.
Mueller, who has been in the Girl Scouts for six years, earned a Silver Award, one of the highest awards the organization bestows, for creating this program. The award requires scouts to identify a problem in their community and create a sustainable solution. Waste Management immediately signed on to sponsor Mueller’s effort by printing the decals and offering her assistance.
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