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Middle-schoolers think green

February 03, 2009|By MARLO BARNHART

BOONSBORO - Janeen Solberg and the other Boonsboro Recycling Task Force members firmly believe environmental responsibility should begin at an early age.

To further that goal, the task force sponsored a casual forum recently between the Boonsboro Middle School's environmental club and Harvey Hoch, recycling coordinator for Washington County.

The economy has hit recycling hard, meaning fewer companies are buying recyclables, Hoch said. But he stressed that even so, people need to continue recycling as many products as possible.

"I'm trying to get you to think," Hoch told the students.

As an example, Hoch said he has grocery store clerks put his purchases in a cart unbagged so he can unload them into reusable boxes he keeps in his trunk.

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"Be an advocate! Thank people who do recycle," Hoch said. "You have a lot of power - use it."

He suggested the students consider careers in waste management. He also said they can check the Internet for a life-cycle assessment of something they use regularly.

Courtney Howe said her dad is a retired contractor who used shredded tires to make playground surfaces at a preschool.

"And we also use the reusable bags at the grocery store," Courtney said.

Justin Henney wanted to know which was more expensive - running an incinerator or maintaining a landfill.

"A landfill is much less expensive," Hoch said. But he quickly added that many communities are running out of landfill space.

The club, which was formed in September, has gotten a lot of information and shared some too, Solberg said. She asked the students for their favorite "green" tips.

"When we go camping, we crush our cans and then sell them," said Danny Morris.

Ashley Stull said when she passes a trash can and sees something that can be recycled, she pulls it out and puts it where it will be recycled.

"I make crafts out of nonrecyclable plastic," said Ella Hawkins. She also said she and her family have learned how to make their own environmentally friendly cleaning products.

Tess Hebert lives on a farm, where occasionally scrap metal is gathered and taken to Conservit for recycling.

"We wrote a letter to Weis Markets asking them to use cardboard egg cartons instead of the plastic ones," said Otto Solberg.

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