In an attempt to uphold the tenants of the Ozark Society, the Highlands Chapter has initiated an effort to reduce disposable waste. It started at the Chapter meetings as we switched to restaurant style cups, silverware and utensils. Support was nearly universal as members stepped up to wash dishes and remarked about the long overdue process of using recyclable products. An unforeseen benefit was the reduction in our storage of disposable products. We stored hundreds of disposable plastic cups, and stacks of paper plates; now we have about 30 tumblers, 30 plates and about 40 coffee cups, and we don’t run to the store as often. Cloth napkins maybe next on our list!

The OSHC Buffalo River Classic was our next challenge. We famously produced about 5 bulging bags of trash. Here we asked participants to bring their own non-disposable eating utensils, and we brought a set of our dishes for the event in case a few people forgot to bring their own stuff.

We’re all new to this and admittedly there was some confusion as some members brought their own disposable plates and forks or they brought disposable items for the Highlands Chapter. It’s a learning process; we’ll get there.

But what about the outcome, was there less trash? Absolutely, we had one bag of trash. People noticed and commented that they felt better about our reduced trash output. At the Spring Meeting in Tyler Bend the Buffalo Chapter provided reusable plates and other utensils and just collected them in large net bags to take home to the dishwasher. It’s like a lot of things, once you develop a system it’s not really that much more work. As long as we work together and help each other put conservation into action, we’ll make our planet a healthier place for all.