Youth Groups Prove that Waste can be Fun and Educational

Our community youth have been challenged this year in clubs and groups to explore ideas about reducing, reusing, and recycling the materials used in our daily lives. Many youngsters end up at WLSSD’s door when facing this waste challenge. When groups come to us they are looking for background information on what’s recyclable and an understanding of what the problem materials are in our community. We like to talk with youth to explain that, as consumers, we have to be aware of the product’s complete “life cycle,” from manufacturing all the way to disposal. Many times classrooms are busy places where simple lessons about recycling can get lost, so it is fantastic to see community groups tackle recycling issues. I can’t wait to tell you about some of the awesome work being done by our young community members.

Boy Scout troops in our region learn about recycling initiatives as a way to earn badges. This year, it was exciting to see Pack 25 use old bottles and material that can be recycled to make boats. They race the boats just like homemade cars are raced in the popular pinewood derby. After this year’s race the boats were recycled, closing the loop on the project, and ensuring the valuable materials in the boats could be used again to make new products.

Over the past two years, school robotics teams have focused on recycling equipment. The Lego robotics teams were required to use Legos to replicate a type of recycling equipment of their choice, researching and bringing awareness to a problem material. The High School Robotics team needed to complete a challenge related to recycling with a robot. It’s great that last year’s focus on the waste industry, provided the team an opportunity to take a closer look at waste—something most youth are not exposed to.
I was thrilled to see young members of our community learning about recycling and reducing waste outside of school. Meeting with kids in smaller groups like Scout troops and teams allows them to ask more questions and really dig into the issues surrounding waste. The youth groups are clearly engaged and set positive examples that reflect our community’s values. Thank you to all the kids, coaches, Scout Leaders, and advisors who took the time to explore topics on waste and recycling this year.