A image is worth 1,000 words and phrases — or when it comes to the Keweenaw’s first waste reduction
drive, make that eighteen,573 plastic bottle caps, eleven,585 plastic bags and eleven,444 batteries.

The Sustainability Demonstration Household at Michigan Technological College spearheaded the first Keweenaw Waste Reduction
Travel on June 27. It will not be the last, but with any luck , long term activities will not be such
a roller coaster. The logistics lastly arrived jointly in June, following the primary
announcement in February and indefinite postponement of the primary date (Earth Week
kickoff) to figure out a process that would be safe and sound and productive. Additional than 150 households
participated in the drive-by way of selection in the parking ton in close proximity to Michigan Tech’s
Gates Tennis Heart.

It took two weeks to depend the 46,168 items collected, masking 5 categories of
waste that simply cannot be recycled curbside: plastic bags, batteries, plastic bottle caps
and rings, foil-lined wrappers and Styrofoam egg cartons.

A young woman sitting in the center of recycled egg cartons, foil-lined wrappers, bottle caps, plastic bags and batteries.
Learners had been thrilled by the reaction — more than 56 autos in the first two several hours
— and prepared to handle every little thing that arrived their way. (All shots courtesy Michigan
Tech Sustainability Demonstration Household)

There is no turning back again, says household supervisor Rose Turner, who earned her BS in environmental engineering at Michigan Tech in 2018 and is presently pursuing graduate studies right here. The team
ideas to make the waste reduction drive an annual party. They have not made a decision if the
similar 5 recyclables will be highlighted or if new components will be collected.

“We’ll have more facts in a several months. In the meantime, we hope that all people
will keep on to divert these items from the landfill,” mentioned Turner. “Nearly each
man or woman who participated in the drive told us that they enjoy what we’re performing and they
all asked when the future drive is likely to consider spot. Some asked if we could make
this a every month party!” 

Finding techniques to recycle what will not break down obviously in a landfill is a stopgap
evaluate. The genuine solution, says the team, is to eradicate the use of components like
Styrofoam, which never degrades, and to obtain biodegradable possibilities. Here’s the place
the components went (and where folks can keep on to recycle on their own):

A young man in center and two young women stand holding a plethora of plastic bags in front of a wooden garage wall

a woman's face behind a pile of collected batteries with a brick building and woods in the background

Batteries had been recycled by way of Remy Battery in Houghton. The business accepts all sorts, such as alkaline and lithium. If you’re
not near to Houghton, says Turner, you can research on the net to obtain a battery recycling
middle in close proximity to you.

bottle caps shower down on a young woman sitting on a blue tarp during a recycling collection

Bottle caps are remaining transformed into kitchenware and toothbrushes. If you’re willing
to pay postage, you can send yours to Preserve’s Gimme 5 system by yourself.

foil wrappers float around two young women on a blue tarp outside

The three,474 foil-lined wrappers collected are off to TerraCycle, which presents a assortment of recycling packages — generating items from creating devices
to cosmetic containers and coffee pods.

a young man supine in side profile with egg cartons stacked in the background

Egg cartons go to regional farmers — so far more than 600 of the 1,092 collected have
been donated to those who have booths at the weekly Downtown Houghton Farmers Sector.
The team suggests generating your own farming link to preserve recycling your cartons.

“Three SDH tenants, 5 graduate students and 1 [Copper Country Recycling Initiative]
local community member volunteered during our large sorting/counting working day,” mentioned Turner. “I
am further than grateful for the students and local community associates who volunteered to assist
with the Keweenaw’s first waste reduction drive.”

“The the greater part of the volunteers had been present-day graduate students who, like me, are very
chaotic in the summer with comprehensive-time investigation. Nonetheless they uncovered that means in the energy and
sacrificed their absolutely free time to assist out with an party centered all around reducing waste
in our local community. I am thankful for this incredible network of sustainability-minded
students and local community associates who want to consider motion!”Rose Turner, SDH 

six young people in masks and gloves sort recyclables outside with a brick house and trees in the background
Volunteers assist with sorting and planning items for market. (Photograph by Ranit Karmakar)

Michigan Technological College is a public investigation university, house to more than
seven,000 students from 54 nations around the world. Established in 1885, the College presents more than
120 undergraduate and graduate diploma packages in science and engineering, engineering,
forestry, company and economics, overall health professions, humanities, mathematics, and
social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Higher Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway
and is just a several miles from Lake Outstanding.