First Tuesdays for Planet Earth | Reuse it, upcycle it and reduce it

Priya Hutner sewing napkins at the Truckee Roundhouse Makerspace. | Ben Anderson

Plastic bags swirl in our oceans, landfills are full of waste and more than ever we live in a throw-away culture. How can we make a difference? Truckee Roundhouse volunteer and maker Kristen Anderson is working to bring awareness and effect change by limiting the things we throw away.

“Kristen is the brainchild behind First Tuesdays for Planet Earth,” says Karen Stanley, executive director of Truckee Roundhouse.

First Tuesdays for Planet Earth is a donation-based program held on the first Tuesday of the month. The hands-on classes, open to the public, teach participants how to make reusable household items. The program is geared to reduce dependency on single-use plastic and paper and raise awareness of the impact small, positive actions have on the environment. The program is co-sponsored by Keep Truckee Green and Sierra Watershed Education Partnerships (SWEP).

Finished cloth napkins. | Priya Hutner

I arrived for a napkin-making class led by Anderson. She came up with the idea for the series of classes because she was upset about the amount of plastic and things we use once and throw away.

“I’ve always been a super maker. I am passionate about reusing, repurposing and upcycling,” says Anderson.

Her commitment and dedication has apparently influenced both of her twin sons: Ben and Evan are both interns at SWEP. The juniors are both presidents of Envirolution an environmental club at Truckee High School. Ben is the president of communications and Evan is president of advocacy. Both are passionate about the environment and the effects of climate change on the planet.

Kristen Anderson with sons Ben and Evan Anderson. | Priya Hutner

“Evan and I are both Nordic skiers and have seen effects of climate change on our snowpack,” says Ben.

Both were on hand to help participants make napkins. We gathered around the worktables for instructions. We picked fabrics for our reusable napkins. Anderson directed us to cut out 14-inch squares of material. She demonstrated how to fold the corners, asking us to “make sure each corner is the same size.”

Then she deftly folded the long edges over twice, ironed each fold and pinned the material. We took to the sewing machines next. The machines began to buzz as some of us learned how use a sewing machine. A volunteer helped me guide the blue Japanese print material I chose along the edges of sewing machine foot.

Each piece of material started to look more like a beautiful piece of art and something I could use over and over at the dinner table —less paper, less waste. I am committed to making more cloth napkins.

Anderson, who is also an artist, leaned across the large worktable and pulled up her Instagram account to show me photos of the last class she offered at the makerspace. She had fashioned men’s ties into utensil and chopstick holders. She is excited about her upcoming workshops open to ages 12 and older that include making reusable grocery bags, vegan beeswax, cotton covers for food storage, glass and metal straw carriers, and drying racks for plastic bags.

1st Tuesdays for Planet Earth
| Donation based
Oct. 1 | Making mesh produce bags
Nov. 5 | Beeswax cotton food wraps
Dec. 3 | Reusable cloth gift bags for the holidays

Community Fix It Clinic
3rd week of October TBD | Free

Truckee Roundhouse also offers Community Fixit events. Expert volunteers help repair broken appliances, mend and repair clothing and fix broken wind chimes and lawn art. |