HARVARD -- Being eco-friendly used to be a trend.
But campaigns urging people to recycle, repurpose and reuse have brought national awareness of the importance of using resources to capacity. It is slowly but surely becoming a requirement in every community.
Recycling aluminum, plastic and paper has become as common as taking out the trash. But it does not stop there.
Fifteen-year-old sophomore and Girl Scout Jane Sullebarger strived to maximize reuse of resources by organizing a Styrofoam recycling event she held at the Transfer Station last Saturday. Committed to achieving the Girl Scout Gold Award, Sullebarger was determined to come up with an eco-friendly way to make a sustainable impact in her community.
"I was reading about it and decided that it would benefit the town of Harvard," Sullebarger said. "It's 98 percent air and would create a lot more space."
When asked why Styrofoam and not plastic or cans, Sullebarger said, "We already have that provided for us."
The Girl Scout is quite knowledgeable in the kinds of uses recycled Styrofoam provides.
"After it gets recycled, it gets made into picture frames, CDs, sometimes pens and rulers," she said.
Styrofoam, which is a trademark of the Dow Company, is also known as Polystyrene and commonly used for packaging and, commonly, for disposable cups. Unlike paper, Styrofoam takes a much longer time to break down creating long-term trash in landfills.
Burning Styrofoam is not recommended because of the harmful toxins it releases and finding places to recycle Styrofoam is typically a challenge. Thanks to Sullebarger's event, it was a little easier for people in Harvard to safely dispose of their unwanted Styrofoam and help the environment.
Sullebarger said she received a good turnout with about 67 cars stopping by to drop off Styrofoam.
The young Girl Scout set out to earn the highest award a cadet can achieve by helping the environment and educating her community that there is still much more to be done when it comes to recycling.
At the age of 15, she has run a successful Styrofoam recycling campaign and says she plans to organize another next year.
"I saw a problem with Styrofoam and wanted to find a good solution," she said. "I believe I've done that."