NVEco collaborates with SCARCE to encourage recycling and repurposing initiatives

Several members of NVEco take part in the process of repurposing broken crayons.

Hannah Denaer, Staff Writer

On March 7, the NVEco club teamed up with the environmental education non-profit SCARCE to get a firsthand look at how the organization works towards creating an environmentally-friendly community. Founded in 1990 by Kay McKeen, the current executive director, SCARCE began to reuse and repurpose items through what has now become their trademark project: the Book Rescue. Rather than allowing gently used books to be thrown away or placed in storage spaces, the non-profit collects them and gets them back to teachers who need them for their classrooms.

Erin Kennedy, a nine-year member of SCARCE, discussed how most people who come to collect repurposed items aren’t looking to spark environmental change; rather, “it’s a teacher who doesn’t have the supplies to stock his or her classroom.” However, those same people begin to understand the environmental impact that’s being made. “When you tell somebody 80 million books have been kept from going into a landfill and put into the hand of a student or a teacher, then they can start to make that connection,” said Kennedy.

Another item that the organization repurposes is crayons. Members of the NVEco were given the opportunity to participate in this particular project. The students first sorted through piles of donated crayons and separated broken crayons from those that were still intact. The broken crayons were then taken to a separate building in which they were melted down and poured into molds that, when hardened, became new, larger crayons meant for the use of young children or older adults. Students also took part in sorting through keys and breaking down binders, ensuring that all the separate parts were repurposed appropriately.

In combining efforts to both better the environment and help teachers lacking the tools to be successful, SCARCE shows that, “you can be an environmentalist and a humanitarian at the same time,” remarked Kennedy.