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Canton's Future is Bright Green

Ohio city kicks off new recycling program with a contest for kids

By Kayleigh Bondor | April 24 , 2008
Local artist Patrick Buckohr's "Critters Project" creation is made entirely out of recycled materials. Eight of Buckohr's "critters" are displayed throughout downtown Canton, Ohio. (Photo courtesy Kayleigh Bondor)
Local artist Patrick Buckohr's "Critters Project" creation is made entirely out of recycled materials. Eight of Buckohr's "critters" are displayed throughout downtown Canton, Ohio. (Photo courtesy Kayleigh Bondor)

Canton, Ohio, kicked off a major effort to become a "greener" city this Earth Day, and it all started with a contest for kids.

Students attending Canton City Schools can clean up and win big money by entering the Mayor's Contest for Kids. Students have been challenged to create an original invention, piece of art, or working copy of an existing invention, using only recycled paper, plastic, glass, and/or metal.

The Wal-Mart store in Canton has donated two $500 first-place prizes; two $250 second-place prizes; and two $100 third-place prizes for the contest.

Kids can find inspiration for their contest creations by studying Patrick Buckohr's metal critters exhibit on display in downtown Canton.

"My idea was to make giant toys, the kind of plastic toys kids play with," Buckohr said. The bright, fun, sculptures are made entirely of recycled metal. "The critters are sturdy, so kids can play and climb on the giant animal toys."

Building Excitement for Recycling

Mayor William J. Healy and his staff came up with the idea for the contest as a way to build awareness for Canton's first curbside recycling project.

"We wanted a way to engage [the support] of young adults for the recycling program," explained Lindsay Molnar, spokesperson for the Mayor's office. "You have to have some excitement to [get people involved in a new program], and we hope kids will come home and say, 'I need to find all the plastic bottles we have, Mom. What can we recycle?' "

The Mayor's goal is for Canton to be the greenest city in Ohio. The contest for kids and curbside recycling program is just the beginning.

He says the next item on his list for greening the city is reducing the pollution Canton's landfills currently release into the atmosphere. "We have a plan to eliminate 90 percent of the garbage going into our landfills," Healy told Scholastic News Online.

Canton also has plans to perform an energy audit on all city facilities, create more-efficient lighting on streets, and upgrade traffic lights to ones that function on less electricity.

Economic Benefits of Going Green

The Mayor hopes that Canton's new green-friendly policies will improve the quality of life in his city and attract environmentally conscious citizens.

He is particularly excited about the creation of "green-collar jobs." A green-collar job is one that is focused on addressing the environmental challenges of a community.

"It will be a natural gravitation for people who are interested in environmental issues to establish their businesses here, [which will] create more jobs."

After learning about all of the new environmentally friendly plans and policies in the works for Canton, I think my city's future is bright. Bright green.

EARTH DAY

Celebrate Earth Day with Scholastic News Online! Learn more about how you can help take care of our planet in this special report.

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