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Students Work Toward Zero Waste
Sunday, October 10, 2021


Penelope Hunt is a 16-year-old sophomore at Wood River High School. But what should be a bright future in her crystal ball is looking a little cloudy.

“Every year we’re looking at the world ending a little sooner due to global warming, climate change increasing pollution,” she said.

Hunt isn’t throwing up her hands and setting idly by, however.

She joined a half-dozen other youngsters Saturday setting up a recycling center at the Sheep Folklife Fair in Hailey. The kids—members of the high school’s W.A.T.E.R. club or the valley’s Climate Action Coalition—hope to turn the fair into a zero-waste event by next year.

“I joined because I want to make a difference in our community and ultimately the world,” said Hunt. “These events may look like little steps but every bit counts.”

Erin Howland told the kids that festival organizers expected 2,800 people to eat at the Lamb Fest featuring lamb gyros, lamb tacos, lamb bratwurst and a unique lamb salad. And by noon the lunch lines snaked across the grass as the kids stood guard to make sure nothing ended up in the wrong bin.

The Festival bought canned water, given Hailey’s new ordinance forbidding single-use plastic dishware at events on city property. And vendors were supplied with compostable platees, utensils and cups.

“Our first contribution to the trash bin this morning was from McDonald’s—from some volunteers who picked up breakfast there,” said Elizabeth Jeffrey, a co-founder of the Climate Action Coalition. “The kids have worked this all out with Winn’s Compost, and the Kiwanis are recycling the cans to buy playground equipment. We’re even recycling corrugated cardboard here for the first time.”

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