Green Teens Recycled Superheroes

  • Location
    Centereach, New York
  • Status
  • Age Level
    11 to 13 Years
    14 to 18 Years

The Problem

To reduce the amount of waste that is transported to our town landfill. The Middle Country Public Library's Green Teens environmental club aims to reduce the amount of waste that is transported to our town landfill. This volunteer group has expressed an interest in learning about recycling and discussed concerns about landfill emissions. Approx. 350 tons of ash annually are deposited into the landfill. Solid waste management is challenging as the landfill is expected to reach capacity limits in the near future. The Green Teens recognize the importance of educating the public on proper recycling protocols and reducing individual waste.

Our Plan

A field trip to the town's Materials Recovery Facility in Spring 2024 to learn about best recycling practices. Then, a local beach cleanup in Spring 2024 to collect trash and protect our marine ecosystems. These educational outings equipped the Green Teens with the knowledge to educate others. After the tour of the recycling center and the beach cleanup, they realized the need for communicating the importance of recycling and reducing waste to community members. With the support of Roots and Shoots, these teens facilitated a collaborative recycled bottlecap art project. They worked with a local artist to design and create two nature-themed murals, guiding children in grades 3-5 as they applied the bottle caps. The two nature-themed murals will be displayed in the Youth Services department at the Middle Country Public Library for families to view. The Green Teens also assembled four "Litter Cleanup Kits" which will begin circulating in summer 2024, including a brochure they designed with tips about organizing a cleanup with a list of helpful books and websites with local resources. The Green Teens recognize their project will inspire others to help keep our community clean and increase their recycling efforts in order to keep materials out of our landfill.

Themes Addressed

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The Benefit

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Here is how the project went:

The Green Teens Recycled Superheroes accomplished a great deal at the end of their project. They created four "Litter Cleanup kits" to circulate at the library with a brochure containing information about local resources and tips for conducting a cleanup. They went on two educational field trips and executed the design and completion of two nature-themed murals to be displayed in the Youth Services department at the Middle Country Public Library to inspire others in our community to increase their recycling efforts and to keep materials out of our landfill.

Through this project I/we learned:

The Green Teens Recycled Superheroes learned that many in the community are not aware of the various ways in which materials can be recycled at the Town facility. On the tour of the materials recovery facilty, they learned about specific types of items that can be recycled, the equipment and workers that sorts the recycled material, and gained an overall increased understanding of the process and how we can work towards eliminating the amount of trash that goes to the landfill.

What I/we might change:

We might offer more opportunities to clean up the community. It was very well received by teens and I think that all ages would be interested in participating.

My/our favorite part of this project was:

The field trips were eye-opening; the materials recovery facility tour was very comprehensive and all of us felt we had such a good understanding of the recycling process to see it first hand. At the beach cleanup, we were shocked at all of the microplastics found on the shore.

Some tips, tricks or fun facts about the project:

Hands-on activities are the most engaging when working with teens. We tried to incorporate as many hands-on learning experiences as possible to hold their attention in order to focus on tackling the environmental issue at hand.

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