4/21/2012 1:59:35 PM

Trash Can Patrol: Finalists in Project Polar Bear

"We talk trash" is the motto of the Trashcan Patrol from Pennsylvania, one of two finalist teams in this year's Project Polar Bear Contest.

The Trashcan Patrol

This team launched an effort to motivate people in their hometown of Bellevue—which doesn't have curbside pick-up—to start recycling. They did so by giving talks to elementary students to teach them the importance of recycling, how to recycle at home, and where to take recyclables. Their plan, called the Box Plan, included giving each of the 500 students a box that could be decorated and made into their own unique recycling bin to have at home.

The Trashcan Patrol

They also held a raffle to inspire elementary students to recycle, with prizes including polar bear magnets, posters, and zoo tickets. Each time a student recycled they put a slip of paper with their name and action in the box. They returned to find a box filled with recycling slips, including one from a little boy named Simon who made a wonderful book about his recycling experiences! He took pictures of his family and himself filling up their box and then dumping all the paper they collected into the recycling bin.

A page from Simon's book

The home recycling projects were so successful that the team gave each classroom at the school a box to fill with paper to recycle. They reported that teachers loved the idea. Because of the box, they decided to add a new classroom job: now there will not only be a line leader, door holder, and paper passer, but also a paper recycler!

Team Members: Rachelle Mortimer, 17; Rachael Robertson, 16; Sarah Amick, 17. Adult Advisor: Jane Majerac. Local sponsor: Pittsburgh Zoo. Team Blog.

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