On a recent sunny afternoon on Star Island, a group of youth from the International Affairs Conference gathered on the lawn in front of Brookfield to look on as a group of Pelicans – our summer staff – sorted through two large garbage bags.
Out of the bags, staff pulled such things as plastic cups, apple cores and tinfoil all in the name of education. The two bags – one from a staff location, the other from a guest area – were picked to see which group is better at separating out recycling and compost from trash. With a goal of reducing the amount of waste sent off island, and to limit our impact on landfills, Star Island tries to educate the entire island community about sustainability.
Organized by Sustainability and Environmental Education Intern Lily Hahn and Sustainability Liaison to Pelicans Kevin Brown, the afternoon provided a friendly, competitive way to visualize the impact of disposing items in the correct bins.
Free ice cream stood on the line for the group with the least amount of recycling and compost in the trash. Several Pelicans looked on behind the youth as more and more items came out of the bags and were placed in labeled piles. Conference youth often shouted out which pile a non-trash item should go. In the end, the conference bag contained fewer rogue items, and the Pelicans headed to dinner. However, with about 2/3 of each bag consisting of items other than trash, there is room for improvement on both sides.