What we can learn about sustainability through a Disney World activity

Disney World truly has it all. 

It has four exciting theme parks that house hundreds of different rides and attractions. Iconic things for parents, children and people in between. It’s truly a place to make so many memories.

But one thing you might not know unless you go to Disney is that park has a trading pin activity going on. This popular activity is something you can participate in no matter where you are in Disney World.

Starting in 1999 during the Millennium Celebration, Disney World introduced this fun activity. In the introduction, visitors obtained a book that listed all 450 pins available to collect or trade. These pins were available for purchase, but also for gifts with other store purchases. You could also trade them with cast members. 

From its inception, the Disney pin trading activity grew popular. Participants can purchase “pin maps” and lanyards to put their pins on. I have a “pin map” just because I purchased and traded for about 40 pins during my stay in Disney.

But the part of this activity that I want to focus on is the idea of trading the pins – something so minuscule, yet, could be valuable in our society.

When you go to Disney, you have your choice of buying an enamel pin that you can pick out or a mystery pin (that is still an enamel pin.) Let’s say you open your mystery pin box and find a pin you don’t want. Disney is mad expensive, so spending $7 each time to search for pins you don’t want will really add up.

However, because of Disney’s trading pins program, you can visit and Mickey-shaped cork board, managed by a cast member, and trade for a pin you might like (and of potentially more value.)

I would like to see this kind of “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” trading implemented in real life. When you get something you don’t like, or have something you don’t want, it would be most eco-friendly to trade it with someone else instead of letting it end up in landfills.

Two of the biggest things that currently end up in our landfills is clothes and food. Food accounts for 30-40 percent of the food supply and about 13 million tons of textiles end up in landfills. Instead of filling landfills, we can simply trade with someone else.

Not only would that help the landfill issue, but we would also be saving money. If I traded someone an extra food item that I don’t want (that they do) for a food item I do want (that they don’t) it would save both of us money. We wouldn’t throw out the food that the packaging it comes in has a high chance of not being recycled and have to dish out more money.

This would eliminate the extra burden mentally and save us time.

Disney’s pin trading program is not a groundbreaking way that could solve environmental issues, but it’s a good thing to look in to as the activity could be a talking point in how we purchase things and connect with each other in society.

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