By Linda Dillman
Recycling has returned to Canal Winchester thanks to the efforts of three high school students passionate about helping their community divert trash from landfills into a viable resource.
“Several of the council members have been looking into trying to find solutions for our recycling dilemma,” said Canal Winchester City Councilwoman Jill Amos. “When the students first came to a Community Coffee with their ideas, we could not have been more excited. Our youth is leading the charge in our community and willing to help make this a possibility. These three students are taking their commitment to a whole new level.”
Abigail Hall, who, along with fellow students Austin Keyse and Bryce Palmer, sought city council approval in March and started the program less than two months later. She said the trio came across a scholarship last fall called the Paradigm Challenge in which students come up with a plan on how to help their community.
They chose waste management with a focus on recycling and though all they had to do was come up with a plan, they wanted to go beyond the challenge and take their ideas to the community.
“Our original plan was to get curbside recycling, but that was not doable because of the city’s contract with Waste Management, so we went for the next best option and that is how we came up with community recycling days,” said Hall. “This most difficult part of coordinating an effort like this is finding people that are dedicated to the same path and willing to help through all stages. We have been more than lucky though to have the help of the city council and Waste Management.”
For Hall and her fellow organizers, the most rewarding part of watching their idea come to life is seeing how excited other community members are when they drop off their recycling.
“We see on social media and even in passing conversations that there are many in our community who do choose to continue recycling,” said Amos. “There are also many others who have expressed that it is not convenient to haul it around to the different locations hoping for a container that is not full. We are also choosing to volunteer our time on collection days because it is important to the community and to help show the continued interest in recycling as we begin to look towards our waste removal contract in 2020.”
Amos said help from city staff, such as Public Service Director Matt Peoples, in arranging meetings to helping facilitate collection days is “amazing.”
“I am so appreciative of our city and staff that stands behind its youth leadership and also want to thank Waste Management and Brooke Standley for helping to make this happen,” said Amos.
Resident Sharan Boehmer, who dropped off a load of items during a May 4 collection drive, said she likes the idea of having a scheduled time and place to bring her recyclables because she does not like tossing things in the trash.
“I don’t have to worry about trying to find a bin that isn’t filled up, like they were over by Stradley Place,” said Boehmer. “I think its wonderful young people are doing things like this.”
On the first and third Saturdays of the month, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., teenage and adult volunteers staff the recycling drive in the parking lot shared by the Indian and Winchester Trail elementary schools. Recyclables are tossed into bins donated by Waste Management, who picks up the containers later in the day for further processing.
“We accept all recyclable materials except for glass at the moment,” said Hall. “Before people drop off their recycling, the best thing to do is sort it into two groups, one being paper and cardboard and the other all other recyclables. They want to rinse out any containers so that there are no remnants of food and whatever may have been in the container.”
Hall said residents can bag their recycling, but it is not necessary. It can be brought in containers or a cardboard box. Accepted items include recyclable plastic, aluminum, paper, cardboard, and steel.
“Our long term goal is curbside recycling,” said Hall. “Our hope with the Community Recycling Days is that a majority of the community will be choosing to recycle, which will be obvious to Waste Management due to their awesome involvement in our project. Then curbside recycling will be an option for our next contract in 2020 with Waste Management. Other than that, we want to educate the public on how they can become aware and reduce their impact on the world so that we can make it a safer and cleaner environment.”
For information about community recycling days, vis