The 8-by-4-foot-tall Gainesville City Hall newest mural depicts a sunset over Paynes Prairie, a vibrant mix of reds, oranges, and yellows. If you take a closer look, you’ll notice even more interesting details. Created using 75,000 bottle caps collected from across Gainesville.
The mural is a recent project by UF’s non-profit #UNLITTER, which aims to promote sustainability and raise environmental awareness. About 30 students, city officials and residents gathered at City Hall on Thursday in anticipation of the mural’s unveiling. Members also called for changes to the city’s refusal to recycle bottle caps, despite the recent Zero Waste Ordinance.
Shannon Shawtell, a 21-year-old UF senior in sustainability and marketing and director of #UNLITTER, said the new ordinance would limit companies from using single-use plastic, such as plastic cups and tableware. , said bottle caps are not yet recycled in Gainesville. Although it is recyclable.
Schotel said the 75,000 bottle caps used in the mural were collected through donation boxes at the Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo, UF Campus, and #UNLITTER event.
“If word of mouth and Facebook alone allowed us to collect 75,000 caps in a year and a half, you can imagine how many are in landfills,” she said.
The unveiling took place during a Gainesville City Council meeting attended by Mayor Lauren Poe and the city commissioner, followed by live music by local singer-songwriter Bruce Watt, a 30-minute cleanup, local and student The table was set by a sustainability organization run by .
The bottle cap mural has been in the works for about three years, Shawtell said, but it wasn’t until about a year ago that the organization began collecting bottle caps to bring the idea to life, just before it received approval to hang from Poe. It was. It’s in the city hall.
Gainesville’s Assistant Director of Strategy, Planning and Innovation, Carissa Ruskin, played a key role in organizing and coordinating the unveiling ceremony.
Sustainability is an important aspect of the community and should be prioritized, Raskin said. She said the mural unveiling showed how the city can work with University of Florida students and Gainesville residents to improve its environmental efforts.
“This was important to the mayor,” Ruskin said. “It was important for city leaders to have a mechanism to show that it’s not just a city job, it’s a community job.”
According to Ruskin, the city is committed to zero waste goals and strives to better engage with the community.
Chloe Sthwab, a 21-year-old UF Senior in Marine Science and event coordinator for #UNLITTER, says she got the idea for the bottle cap mural a few years ago after seeing a small dolphin bottle cap mural on Pinterest. I was.
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Not recycling plastic bottle caps is a big problem at the university, she said, made worse by the availability of vending machines and plastic bottles. Many people aren’t aware of Gainesville’s recycling policy, which justifies the use of plastic bottles, she said, Sthwab.
“They say, ‘We’ll recycle it,’ but they don’t realize the caps can’t be recycled,” Shtwab said. “In fact, you are still contributing to a lot of single-use plastic waste.”
#UNLITTER Assistant Director Isabella Marti, 20, is a sophomore in Education Science and Political Science at UF and says the main reason murals are so important is to inspire people to take action to protect the environment. I said. Some people don’t get involved in environmental advocacy because they think it’s too late, she said.
“People get behind and decide, ‘I can’t do anything about the government,'” Marti said. “‘We are destined’ is a very popular idea that people are attached to, but we as individuals have a very significant impact on our local environment.”
She said that if members of the community took care of their local environment, it would be greatly improved.
“You can do little things like keep waterways clean, protect local animals, and protect the local environment,” Marti said. It is very important to emphasize that
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Luna Boales is a third-year journalism major and reporter for the Avenue Staff. When she’s not reporting, she writes poetry, meditates, and reads.