Scouting, Volume 82, Number 2, March-April 1994 Page: 44
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Treasure of Trash (from page 21)
70 built the enclosure with donated
materials and a lot of boy and parent
labor. The facility opened on Saturday
mornings for local residents to drop
By the winter of 1992, however, de-
mands on the center were so great
that Troop 70 asked Troop 510 to join
the project. Together, they could keep
the center open twice during the
week for dropoffs, and on weekends
for dropoffs and loading recyclables
into a trailer for delivery to the recy-
"We wondered what we were get-
ting into," admits Chris Smith, Troop
510 Varsity Scout coach and recycling
center coordinator. The Scouts found
that the work is hard. It includes:
• sorting and breaking glass bottles
with rods, to load into barrels that
weigh 300 to 400 pounds when full
• stacking, then unstacking and filling
trailers with heavy newspaper bun-
• mashing aluminum cans, then filling
12 barrels with them
• dealing with piles and piles of boxes.
"It's a money-earning opportunity,"
explains Smith, "but it also provides
an opportunity for boys and parents
to work together. And it provides a
good service for the community, while
generating funds for the troops. Plus,
my family is more aware of recycling
On a bright Saturday morning, the
Scouts load 15,000 pounds of newspa-
per that have accumulated over the
previous two weeks. They form an as-
sembly line, passing bags of newspa-
pers hand to hand from shed to trail-
er. Fathers are interspersed in the
chain, overseeing and helping. It is
hot in the sun, but the boys work ex-
"Ms. Devereux, Eric says to get off
the truck," a Scout complains as he
jumps down from the vehicle as it
quickly fills with bags of newspapers.
PROGRAM GETS NATIONAL
The Black Forest, Colo.,
recycling program run by Troops 70
and 510 was chosen as a regional
winner last November in the Can
Manufacturers Institute's Great
Aluminum Can Roundup.
Three winners are chosen in each of
four national regions in the
annual competition that awards
more than $10,000 to community
groups who encourage recycling in
their localities. The Black Forest
Scouts' program won a $500 third
place award in the 13-state
western region. Recycling efforts
are judged on their social and
environmental impact, individuality,
creativity, initiative, and the
successful adaptation of the effort
to the community.
"Well, it's because you are not
needed there," Devereux responds,
commanding and instructing at the
same time. "You have to go where the
work is needed. Go into the shed and
fill in the line."
Between loud commands of "Team-
work... Keep it going!" Pam Deve-
reux pauses to discuss the operation.
"During summer, we get dumped on,"
she says with a laugh. "After a winter
of deep snows, many people clean out
the garage of their stacked materi-
als." (During summer, 1993, the troop
received an average of 11,000 to
15,000 pounds of newspapers every
News of the center spread mostly
by word of mouth, says Devereux.
She also placed two short items in the
small community newspaper, the
Black Forest News. Activity has in-
creased steadily, she says, in part be-
cause "people want to help the Boy
Troop leaders assign shifts to each
Scout, usually 2 to 3 boys per shift.
For safety reasons, each boy on duty
is required to be accompanied by a
When not unloading boxes of recy-
clables from cars, the Scouts break
glass down for sorting into barrels by
color. Or they inspect sacks of news-
papers to make sure no glossy adver-
tising inserts or junk mail is hidden
among the pages (such contents ren-
der the entire load worthless).
Often the Scouts have the unpleas-
ant job of sorting out real garbage,
tossed over the enclosure fence by
thoughtless residents looking for a
convenient dumping site.
"I'm shocked at the quantity of the
recyclable stuff people throw out,"
comments Eric Miller, 15, of Troop 70.
"But it really pays off for us. It gives
us extra cash, plus it helps out peo-
"The boys learn teamwork," says
Pam Devereux. "They learn sorting
and how to be responsible for things.
They learn that if you work together,
the job gets done faster."
Business slows down a little during
the winter months. That's when the
Scouts also learn to be industrious.
They invent jobs of cleaning, organiz-
ing, and repair, as well as anything
else they can do to keep the frosty
chill away and make their shift hours
"Maintaining the recycling center
is not fun to do," says Eric Smith, 15,
of Troop 510. "There's a lot of respon-
sibility with it, but it pays off. We
went on a five-day backpacking trip
with what we earned recycling."
If a Scout unit wants to earn
money, Eric adds, "this is the best
Scouting + March-April 1994
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Boy Scouts of America. Scouting, Volume 82, Number 2, March-April 1994, periodical, March 1994; Irving, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth353616/m1/44/: accessed March 22, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Boy Scouts of America National Scouting Museum.