Town residents might soon notice a few fancy tumblers in lieu of plastic water bottles at future town council meetings.
The black YETI tumblers are courtesy of 17-year-old resident Grace Foglia, who approached Windermere Town Manager Robert Smith with an idea to provide town staff and council members with reusable containers.
Smith, she said, was completely on board with her proposed idea, and gave her the green light to order 20 tumblers engraved with the town’s logo.
“My dad and I were at a meeting and everyone had plastic water bottles but not everyone drinks them, and I didn't think it was practical,” Foglia said, explaining why she pitched the idea. “I just thought it was wasteful, and it's not that good for the environment. So I thought we could start using small reusable tumblers. I purchased 20, and I've had some people ask if they could also buy ones, so that's something I'm also interested in – potentially selling them to the residents of the town.”
Foglia’s initiative partially inspired council member Bill Martini to pitch another idea to the town: a young adults committee that would take on similar projects and help out with regular town events.
“This is not an official thing yet, but it's something I've talked to some people about and it seems to be getting some traction,” Martini said. “We have a lot of young people here in town who love to volunteer and also need to volunteer for school. So I thought it would be a good idea to start a young adults or youth committee so they can get some volunteer hours and get a taste of public service. … I'm thinking the committee could have their own projects, their own budget, their own agenda and their own officers and that type of thing. I just thought it would be a good idea to give kids the (opportunity) to have that sort of mini-government experience.”
Such a committee has not been officially proposed, and is only being thrown around as a possible project at this point, but Martini said Smith also believes the idea is feasible.
Martini suggested the potential five-person committee could meet monthly like the town’s existing committees, spearhead its own projects, be sponsored by a council member, and host fundraising events for more projects, such as Foglia’s next idea: a community garden.
“I want to do a community garden as well, which would probably take a little more time and research, but maybe the young adults committee could take on that kind of project and we would work with some of the other committees and the town to get it done,” she said.
Foglia said she believes any initiative to reduce waste is a step in the right direction given that efforts to take care of the environment, or lack thereof, will affect later generations.
“We're leaving this earth to my generation, and then the one after, so starting to change how we do things now could help us in the future versus not doing anything – which wouldn't help anyone,” she said. “So I think it's best to start something like this now, rather than later or not at all.”