The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

July 24, 2013

Tons of materials from Boy Scout Jamboree enter recycling stream

By Jessica Farrish
The Register-Herald

THE SUMMIT — Anybody who has ever fed teenagers knows how much they eat. But some parents may complain that getting teens to take out the garbage isn’t so easy.

At the Boy Scout National Jamboree, taking out just the recyclable trash items for 40,000 teens, not to mention staff and volunteers, was as epic as the event itself.

By Tuesday morning, the Scouts had used up 329,800 plastic food bags, 129,600 plastic cups, 100,000 soda pop cans, 45,000 food boxes, 32,900 pizza boxes and 3,150 cot boxes.

That’s an estimated 11.5 tons of recyclable garbage a day, including 300,000 pounds of recyclable cardboard —  a figure that would’ve been much higher if rain hadn’t destroyed many cardboard items.   

Boy Scouts of America offered an epic solution: recycling some of the trash in the local community.

“Boy Scouts wants to be green,” said Dan Lofton of Bellaire, Ohio, a Scout leader and member of the Boy Scouts Green Team. “This is the biggest effort the Boy Scouts of America has made in its history to recycle, and we’re going green.”

So throughout the week, Lofton and fellow Green Team member and Scout leader John McGinnis of Plano, Ill., have loaded a 28-foot box truck high with recyclable items from The Summit and driven it to the Raleigh County Solid Waste Authority E. Paul Barley Recycling Center.

They pull up at the Recycling Center, where they unload the garbage for recycling.

Most items are from the contracted food companies that are set up on at the Summit Visitors Center.

“The whole scope of their recycling initiative is something we’ve never seen before,” said SWA Marketing Director Sherrie Hunter. “The goals that they have to divert as much recyclables from the summit as possible are impressive.

“They’ve really been working hard,” she added. “They’ve stepped back to say what ‘we did good, what can we do differently next time.’

“It’s pretty impressive.”

McGinnis said BSA is emphasizing recycling this Jamboree and will continue to do so in the future.

“In the last Jamboree, they may have recycled less than 5 percent of our waste,” said McGinnis. “So the BSA is saying we’ve got to improve this.

“We set up recycling centers at each of the base camps.

“We’ve got a total of 18 rangers at these subcamps to watch the Scouts and make sure they recycle.”

He said the plan has worked during Jamboree 2013.

“We’ve done a great job at all of our camps, keeping the recyclables clean and separated,” McGinnis said, adding that the Visitors Center is the biggest challenge since the trash cans fill more quickly and visitors may look for “any receptacle” to deposit trash.

Still, he said, the recycling program has been a success and will be improved next Jamboree since some of the early challenges should be worked out of the system by then.

Both McGinnis and Lofton praised SWARC Supervisor Fred Lovell and Joe Hutchison of Oak Hill Sanitation.

“Fred Lovell’s help has been outstanding, and the Oak Hill sanitation guys, we’ve worked them to death,” Lofton said, adding that the Boy Scouts want to be “good neighbors.”

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