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South Valley Journal

FIRST LEGO League: Recyclable or Not?

Jan 27, 2016 08:54AM ● By Bryan Scott

By Hope Zitting | [email protected]

South Valley - Recycling should be easy. Recycle the plastics and throw away the trash. That’s all, right? Unfortunately, it is not that simple. Fortunately, we can get educated individuals to help us distinguish what to do and what not to do.

During the Herriman City Council meeting on Jan. 13, the FIRST LEGO League of Herriman and South Jordan gave a presentation regarding the dos and don’ts of recycling.

“Councilwoman Moser and I met with these young men. They came and presented a wonderful project that they’re working on, and I feel that it would be very appropriate to have them come and present to our city council as well as our community. I just think it’s a very worthwhile subject. I thought I was a recycler and I am, but they enlightened me on a number of things, and I think they’ll enlighten you in terms of what can be recycled and what cannot be recycled,” Mayor Carmen Freeman said.

“I just want to preface what the LEGO League is so people understand. The FIRST LEGO League is a competition where the boys get together and they give them a topic. This year was ‘trash,’ and they had to research a problem and find a solution,” FIRST Coach Julie Stewart said.

FIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. The FIRST LEGO League includes more than 29,000 teams with more than 233,000 individuals participating. It includes more than 80 countries worldwide.

“We decided to do stuff that can be recycled because this is a huge problem. So, we recently visited the Trans-Jordan Landfill and we learned a few things, such as the Trans-Jordan Landfill is being filled too rapidly, and we throw away too much recycling and recycle too much trash,” one of the four members of the FIRST LEGO League team, called Emperor Penguins, said.

Recycling rates are 47 percent nationwide and Salt Lake County recycling rates are 50 percent.  Individuals every single day disregard an average of 3.4 pounds of garbage, and Salt Lake County throws away 2,000 tons of garbage per day.

“There’s a game we like to play called Dumpster Dividing,” another boy said. The way this game works is that one person has a certain item in his or her hand, and he or she has to distinguish whether or not it can be recycled while standing in front of both a recycling bin and a trash can. 

For instance, cardboard can be recycled, but only if there is no grease present. Plastic can also be recycled, unless it does not have the capability to hold its shape.

“People are the best recyclers, and that’s why we decided to create this presentation because machines will never recycle as best as us,” a first Emperor Penguins member said.