Esko woman contributes to "Zero Waste Kids" book

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So much of what Americans buy and consume comes wrapped in packaging that eventually is thrown out.

But some like April Hepokoski strive to live as close to zero waste as possible. She runs the Zero Waste Duluth Facebook group and operates The Little Barnyard Preschool. One of her latest projects was contributing to a book called "Zero Waste Kids." It comes out Feb. 15.

"It’s really just about making simple swaps in your home and bringing awareness to the child about those changes in the home and what you’re going to do instead," Hepokoski said.

It’s authored by Rob Greenfield. Hepokoski came up with 13 of the 35 activities included in the book, things like making your own recycled paper or creating a windowsill garden.

"It’s really about taking one step at a time," she said, "which is kind of fun with this book because it has all these different ideas in here and looking through it with your child. They could pick out one activity that they want to do, and you could do it as a family."

At her preschool, the kids use reusable rags instead of paper towels. And she encourages people to make "zero waste travel kits" with silverware and a cloth napkin.

She hopes the book both makes people aware of their environmental footprint and makes it fun to find sustainable alternatives.

"Living zero waste can be hard because it is countercultural," she said. "A lot of garbage and resources can be used with our typical American culture with raising a child."

There is a book signing and presentation by the author scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. March 4 at the Cloquet Public Library. Seats for the presentation are limited, so people are asked to preregister.

Information to buy or order the book is available here.