What is a Young Zeronaut? 

PageLines- yz_logo_4c_sm.jpgA Zeronaut is a leader who is driving a big problem, such as waste, to zero. In his book, the Zeronauts, John Elkington profiles several business leaders who have achieved big waste reduction measures in their industry. A Young Zeronaut is, well, young…and eager to understand the causes of waste and pollution in their home, school and/or community, in order to help prevent waste.

Our Young Zeronaut project energizes, convenes and creates teams of students focused on sustainability (also known as green teams) in schools. There are four general aspects to the programming.


All students learn about plastic pollution, through an assembly, class presentations or video production. They learn critical thinking skills and are empowered to create positive change.

Collectionplastic collection

The group organizes a collection of plastic over a time period from their homes, school or community. NOTE: The Collection step may be more powerful if done before the Education step so students can draw their own conclusions about why we are bringing this project to them.



To introduce students to the artistic design process, a quilt square is designed by students before it is assembled. The design is inspired by the object a student or group of students wants to work on eliminating from their waste stream. Selected students assemble the artwork.

Outcome and Inspiration

Your school begins to make progress as a place where students are reducing waste in schools, homes and communities. Our beta Online Quilt shows the progress students, including yours, are making. Click on the quilt square to read the story and see pictures of how other student groups reduced waste.

How can my group get started?

In 2014, we will work directly with five schools, to be announced,  in Northeast Portland. Our general timeline is to develop and strengthen relationships with sites January thru May and implement programming and projects in the Fall of the same year. If you are not in Northeast Portland, but would like to be a part of the Virtual Quilt, register here.  

DSC_0030Why should my group be on the Virtual Quilt?
Your group will be held accountable for the goals you set for your school and therefore be inspired to reach your waste reduction goals.
Your achievements will be celebrated and others can learn from you challenges and successes. This is crucial to an energized group  of change-makers! We will recognize, meet and celebrate one another’s challenges and victories at the end of each year.

We are seeking volunteers to help run the programming. It would require a once a week commitment for about 2 hours at one of the sites. Contact cheryl[at]createplenty.org or call 503-757-9887.