Within The Home Depot, there is a large contingency of eco-conscious associates. They call themselves the Sustainability Squad, and they are living proof that Eco Actions make a difference. They are living a DIY sustainability lifestyle.
Each month, we sit down with members of the Sustainability Squad to learn more about their inspiration and motivation and the individual Eco Actions. Join us for this month’s conversation with Danielle Gadberry from The Home Depot’s Pro Support Center (PSC).
Danielle Gadberry lives in Kansas, where she is a Pro Account Expediter for The Home Depot’s PSC. Danielle has taken action to eliminate plastic waste in her home. Her Eco Actions include switching to shampoo and dish soap in bar form to making her own cleaning products. But Danielle’s most impressive and creative Eco Actions is no doubt her crocheted, reusable market and produce bags. Danielle makes plarn (plastic yarn) out of plastic bags and uses it to crochet bags and mats for her own use and to donate to local homeless shelters.
EA: Welcome to Eco Actions, Danielle, and congratulations on being featured. Can you tell us about your job at The Home Depot?
DG: I am a Pro Account Expediter here at the Pro Support Center. I’ve been with The Home Depot just under three years. I started in the stores, store #2214 in Hutchinson, Kansas, to be exact. I’ve been at the Pro Desk, at the Paint Desk and in the store as a customer service supervisor.
EA: When did you first decide to reduce plastics in your life? Was it difficult to transition away from single-use plastics?
DG: I consider myself a very ecofriendly person. I grew up on a farm, and my mom was all about recycling. We reused everything and even composted. Now that I’m an adult, I see the impact I have on the world. Now that I have my own money, I see that I can really make a difference – just myself and my family. But in the past year, I’ve made more of a conscious effort to become more ecofriendly. I’m interested in finding ways to reduce our carbon footprint and take that next step for the next generation.
So, I made a conscious effort at the beginning of this year to reduce as much waste as possible. And it’s nice to not have so many plastic bottles sitting under my sink because I’ve switched a lot of my household cleaning products to vinegar, water and essential oils. I’ve switched to concentrated dish soap. And I use shampoo and conditioner bars.
EA: Where did the idea to make plarn and crochet bags come from? How long does it take to make a reusable bag?
DG: I’m in a few social media groups for crocheters, and I’d seen people make mats from plastic yarn. So, I knew it could be done. And then my mom’s birthday was coming up. She’s very earth-conscious and uses reusable bags herself. I knew she’d love to have a reusable bag made from other bags.
EA: Are there any parallels between your plastics mission and your work at The Home Depot? Has working for The Home Depot influenced you in any way or vice versa?
DG: The Home Depot is a very ecofriendly company. When I was working in the stores, we recycled a lot of different materials. Not only is it the right thing to do, but also with things like cardboard, we get money for it. Occasionally, I would see new employees who didn’t know better put cardboard in the trash. I would always go get it and put it in the bailer for recycling.
When I worked at the Service Desk, we needed to print a lot of things for customers. And anything we didn’t use, we cut up into squares and used as scrap paper. So, we were just constantly coming up with innovative ways to reuse.
EA: Is there anything you’d like to say to other associates or homeowners who are curious about what it means to embrace sustainability?
DG: Sure. I think sustainability is about being resourceful. Being a crocheter, I know that I don’t always have to buy new yarn. Often, I go to thrift stores and find old sweaters to take apart for yarn. Also, I have a small business on Etsy where I sell things that I crochet: cardigans, beanies, a little bit of everything. And when I ship things, I mostly use packaging that I’ve saved. I reuse boxes, paper packaging and Bubble Wrap. I reuse everything!