DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — In the early days of the pandemic, social interaction was hard to come by and Ohio was in lockdown.

But through the isolation, Natalie Warrick decided to make a difference.

Her goal was to form friendships — in a safe way — based on common interests like sustainability.

“In April of 2020, I officially made the Waste-Free Dayton Facebook group,” Natalie said. “It was a time of COVID — so just as a way to reach out to people and safely interact.”

Her goal? To create a community focused on sustainability.

“Share my ideas but also ask anyone else if they have any ideas that they would like to share,” Natalie said. “Any tips or tricks that maybe I don’t know about. And just create that community.”

That community quickly grew. “Waste-Free Dayton” now boasts nearly 600 members.

Friendships were formed and a leadership team was born, including Associate Director Brett Bogan.

“It was a journey that me and my family had been on but now I met someone else who was on that similar journey,” Brett said. “And it was like, hey, I’m interested in this. How can we do more?”

With Brett’s help, Waste-Free Dayton became an official nonprofit.

And now, it’s giving back to the community through monthly litter cleanups and other projects.

If you want to get involved Natalie says you can actually start right at home.

“Look around your house and try to evaluate how I can recycle better,” Natalie said. “Learn what recycling is like in your area. Also try to cut down on plastic if you can. Buy stuff in glass bottles.”

They are caring for the earth while forging friendships that will last a lifetime.

“It’s about people when it comes down to it,” Natalie said. “Forming those relationships over things we have in common like sustainability.”

To learn more about Waste-Free Dayton, check out the Facebook group page by clicking here.