Saint Joseph Scholars take field trip to Cincinnati Recycling and Reuse Hub

On November 11 and 18, St. Joseph Scholars students left McNicholas for a field trip the Cincinnati Recycling and Reuse Hub.

St. Joseph Scholars moderator and English teacher Julie Dill planned and moderated the event.

“I am always looking for opportunities for scholars to go out into the community and have experiences that enhance their learning. I feel that recycling, caring for God’s green earth, and throwing less trash away is very important. The recycling hub just opened, and I think that by taking the scholars there, they can see that somebody’s actually taking the mission to heart to make the world cleaner… I also hoped that this trip could open their eyes to thinking about a possible career in sustainability,” Dill said.

The Cincinnati Recycling and Reuse Hub is a nonprofit organization that began in April of 2021. “We opened at a terrible time with Covid. It was a rough start, for sure. We’re gaining a little bit of momentum now. In this past month we’ve probably had the most groups collectively since we opened April 1… We don’t necessarily know from one day to the next what needs to be done, because we don’t always know what needs to be sorted, what’s going out, and what we need to prep to go out,” Hub volunteer Carrie Harms said.

Harms also runs the Zero Landfill Cincinnati Program, a program for interior design and architecture firms to give materials that would’ve otherwise been thrown away to the program, which then reuses it. “I’m an interior designer, so I was dealing with these samples every day, and I hated throwing them away,” Harms said. “A girl that I graduated with started the Zero Landfill here in Cincinnati in 2008, which she ran for a few years, and then I took over in 2010 and have been doing it since then.”

Sophomore Mary Metzger sorted through plastic straws during her time at the Hub. “One thing that really stuck out to me was the number of items that were thrown away. An entire room full of objects would have ended up in the landfill if it weren’t for this nonprofit,” Metzger said.

“This field trip was very insightful, as I will now be more mindful as to what my family throws away. There are many things that I didn’t even know could be reused that I will keep an eye out for in my own home,” senior Ethan Koran said.

The Cincinnati Recycling and Reuse Hub’s website can be found here. Anyone can volunteer at the Hub, but a parent must come if the person is under 16.

The Hub rents out the first and fourth floors of the building, which is located at 911 Evans Street.
On the first floor, crates with labels were set up to sort recycled items.
Students headed up to the fourth floor via the elevator, which had a manual wooden gate.
Materials from the Zero Landfill Cincinnati Program, such as flooring, are stored at the Recycling Hub.
Various items on the fourth floor, such as fake flowers, binders, and staplers are available to take for free. The Saint Joseph Scholars ‘shopped’ for items they could consider valuable. Other more unconventional items included a receipt machine, Christmas and Halloween decorations, and trophies of all kinds. “I think the ‘shopping center’ for reusable supplies that they have down there is very cool, and I think more people need to take advantage of it,” senior Andrew Collette said.
“[We were] working to break down large blocks of Styrofoam into smaller pieces so that they could be packed more efficiently to be shipped out to companies that would process them to be used again,” Collette said. “I did not have high expectations of the field trip. I thought I would just be handling dirty trash for a couple hours. When I got there, I had so much fun breaking apart Styrofoam with my friends, and I realized how important the work that the Recycling Hub does is.”
Students sorted packaging as reusable and non-reusable and placed them in different boxes. “Before going in to volunteer, and hearing from others which volunteered here, I expected to be sorting and separating recyclables from trash,” sophomore Remington Holder said. “When I first arrived, this did meet my expectation but I did not anticipate I would do as much sorting of the different type of plastics as was done. Prior to this experience, I was not truly aware of the amount of different types of recyclable plastics there were and how much work goes into sorting them and making sure they go to responsible outlets.”

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