In my journey of pursuing eco-friendly products and researching eco-lifestyle topics, I have the amazing privilege of meeting other like-minded souls. It is thrilling to see the eco-community gain strength in numbers. There is inspiration in learning from each other and excitement in growing together. It is a true gift that we are able to lift each other up, not just locally, but worldwide.
I find so much joy in this part of my journey that I cannot help but share all this goodness with you. I hope you enjoy these stories and the missions of other eco-minded souls and organizations as much as I do.
Today’s friend initially captured my attention through Instagram. They sent a message seeking a collaboration with ECO CRATES of America. This message made me curious about who they were and what they stood for. After some digging around and lots of chatting via messenger, I found myself wishing my younger self had been able to have more friends like them. I was inspired and awestruck, and wanted them to influence every soul they met – young and old. I was so moved by the services they provided to youth that I talked nonstop to my family about them that night at dinner. So obviously, I had to share this new friendship with you, too.
In Peru there are approximately 21 tons of trash produced each day, and only in the city of Lima there are 8 tons per day. The truth is that most Peruvians aren’t familiar with the term recycling because only 3/100 Peruvians recycle correctly. This can be evidenced as you walk on the streets, in the beaches, and there are even microplastics inside of animals. We are all at risk and the action has to be taken now!
Beginnings of B3yond
Four students realized what many fail to see. When waste from human consumption exceeds the means to properly dispose of it, we have a big problem. These four individuals united to seek solutions. They collaborated with the Global Issues Network, an existing foundation, to create B3yond Trash. Within just one year of movement, they established a reputation for good in their school’s community and started to dream bigger. B3yond Trash officially became a Peruvian student-led organization, with a strong focus on tapping into the talents of their members to promote environmental education for future generations, while giving new life to recyclable materials.
They focused on two programs.
The first utilized recyclable materials to create school supplies and other objects for children of communities in need. They were able to create and donate 50 notebooks to Colegio Huamani with these efforts.
The second program also used recycled resources, but this time they created the materials into toys and donated them to their local orphanage, Hogar de Gina.
In addition, they make these projects possible for everyone to follow along. On their Instagram account, you can find posts with step-by-step instructions, including a materials list, on how to repurpose recycled materials into fun and engaging arts & crafts projects. This tree, pictured above, especially caught my attention. I hope to do this craft with my own kids soon.
The hearts of these four found purpose and drive out of a world of trash. They are enthusiastic about their projects, find motivation in helping others in need and have taken a beautiful step to cleaning up the earth. It’s a win for everyone.
The Journey Continues
With successful programs in the mix, they decided to expand their reach. Along with a couple of other organizations, they were able to put together a larger program aimed at educating youth on sustainability. This program generates environmental awareness inside their school, and has plans to expand the program to other schools. Some of their work involves environmental education incorporated into Christmas lessons for kindergarteners. They also have created Earth Week events for their local Middle School, reaching more than 400 people.
This diagram shows a bingo card designed to help students be mindful about consumption and recycling. I think the concept is so cool. It makes it fun for kids to learn and become part of the solution from the start.
“Education Empowers.” – B3yond Trash
This clip from Youtube was part of a presentation offered to middle schoolers by the group. I had fun watching it, so did my kids, and I hope you do, too.
It’s easy to overlook the importance of educating children on how to take care of our earth. In college, I was involved in a program designed to educate elementary students on Economics of the USA, called Junior Achievement. It was fun for us all and I have great memories of those days. I think it would be wonderful for a similar program to exist that educates school-aged kids on the importance of mindful consumption and earthly preservation. I believe it is inevitably up to parents to guide the ways of our children. Let’s face it, though. Sometimes they are quicker to listen to peers and other influencers than their own parents. Just another obstacle in life, right?
Speaking of obstacles, no real journey is complete without them. That was a quick lesson for these teens. They found great demand for the projects and campaigns they were developing, but lacked the man power to successfully execute their missions. Instead of giving up, they feverishly searched for more people to get involved with them. The team quickly tripled in size.
In addition, as with all projects, red tape can be a hassle. The team did not back down. They persevered when necessary, presenting proposals to superiors and gaining permission to move forward. New admirers were also acquired in the process. Both principals and administrators praised the group for their accomplishments and all they were able to do without funding.
They were strong in the face of adversity and learned to quickly pivot when change was needed. Because of this, they are stronger today.
B3yond Trash recently participated in ConCausa, which is a contest that supports youth organizations around Latin America. They were pre-selected for the National Meeting along with 27 other groups. Although they did not win, they have been able to get new ideas, improve as an organization, and get their two first alliances. Their latest focus has been working hard on developing a website and gaining a social media presence, both in English and Spanish.
The group of young adults have a great chance for a future as ecopreneurs. Love for the Earth is sometimes rarely found in the hearts of youth. For the future of their projects, they plan to get involved with the ministry of education, as well as other organizations focused on education. They are hopeful their passions will win more volunteers and the attention of members of other institutions.
If you wish to follow along with them, or learn some projects to share with others in your life, you can follow along with them on Instagram @b3yond.trash, or check out their current contributions through @BeyondTrash – Campsite.
In case you missed it, but sure to check out a previous Friendship Friday shining light on another amazing student organization out of Dublin Ireland, The Plastic Yeeters.
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The Selective Sage
Written by: Jaime Snell
Edited by: Sharmarra Rose