Girl Scout Troop 74870, a junior troop of 13 girls from Medfield, is working toward its Bronze Award, the highest award they can earn at the Junior level.
The Bronze Award requires 20 hours of community service on a project of their choice.
“The girls were trying to think of a way they could make the most difference,” explained leader Maureen Stewart. They considered ways to help people, animals, and many other groups, but ultimately decided that recycling could help everyone in town.
The scouts met with town officials last week to see how they can help improve Medfield’s recycling program.
Medfield selectman Ann Thompson explained the basics of recycling, how it works, what can be recycled and what cannot and how “single stream recycling” – where all recycleables are put into one container thereby eliminating the need to sort – has increased the amount of recycling but it has a long way to go.
“I won’t be around in 10 or 20 years to see the benefit of all of this, but you will,” said Thompson. “This is your world you’re going to inherit so it’s yours to take care of.”
Where the girls could help the most is in raising awareness, said Thompson, noting she conducted an "unofficial survey" of the people who recycle and found the older and the younger people were recycling but the people in the “mid 40s” were missing.
“I’m hoping that you each can get your parents involved,” she said, noting if more waste was recycled, it would decrease the amount of trash the town pays to have hauled away, and would ultimately save money for the taxpayers.
Town Administrator Mike Sullivan explained the town throws away three times what it recycles. He said each month the town has 20 loads of trash versus 12 loads of recycling.
He said it costs the town about $100 a ton to haul trash to a Millbury incinerator versus $34 a ton to take recycling to Auburn.
Junior Scout Claire noted, “The town would save a lot of money if we recycled more and that would mean that our town would be a better place to live.”
The scouts learned that recycled materials can be used for many everyday items right in Massachusetts, including:
- Paper and cardboard become cereal and cracker boxes, book covers, and game boards at a recycling paper mill in Fitchburg.
- Glass bottles and jars are melted and used to make new containers at a facility in Milford.
- Plastic soda bottles become polyester fiberfill for jackets and sleeping bags or polar fleece made in Lawrence.
- Milk jugs, detergent bottles, and other No. 2 plastics become landscaping timbers and whiskey barrel planters made in Leominster.
Information was gathered from “Does It Really Get Recycled?” by www.earth911.org