Last week at the Phoenix Convention Center, WASTECON 2019 held their annual convention showcasing sustainability methods that are being implemented across the United States to help improve solid waste management.  During the event the Arizona Recycling Coalition declared the six winners of 5000 dollar grants towards waste management ideas and processes.  Remember that there are only six winners when I say that ACP won a grant!

The President of the organization stated this year there was a record number applicants, making the grant won more valuable and prestigious.  The ACP students that won this grant were Aahana Dugar, Blake Entwiller, and Nevan Hanford.  These students came up with an idea, constructed a proposal, and applied for the grant; all of their hard work paid off!

The students plan to use the grant to use Tenebrio beetles, also called Darkling beetles, to recycle Styrofoam.  The beetles feast upon this notoriously hard to get rid of plastic product and will help reduce Erie’s ecological footprint.  That is a very general goal, but these innovative students are actually helping to make ACP a sustainable school.  This adventurous project is being monitored by the Arizona Department of Environment Quality to see if it can be used by other organizations to help reduce Styrofoam as a pilot program.

This could be a big leap in terms of waste management since Styrofoam is one of the longest lasting wastes because of the chemical compounds it is constructed of.  Due to its long life, Styrofoam piles up fast in garbage dumps with no real way to mitigate the collection of this hardy trash.  When scientists found that some beetles would happily eat the indestructible foam, it was celebrated, but the need to make Styrofoam management cost-effective was a very real road block.  With grants like this schools can begin to make sustainability a more common and normal part of everyday life.

Thank you Aahana Dugar, Blake Entwiller, and Nevan Hanford for caring about our earth and making it better a little bit at a time with a simple project you guys instituted in your community!  Go make the earth a better place , Knights!