Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful's America Recycles Day 2015 Essay Contest Grand Prize Winner - Mason Havens

America Recycles Day Icon 2015Mason Havens – a Senior at Georgia Southern University – submitted the following essay to win the Grand Prize for Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful’s America Recycles Day 2015 Essay Contest…

To the average person an empty bottle or can is trash. To others, such objects paint a different and more beneficial picture. These simple superheroes disguised in the forms of recyclable materials give us the opportunity to do something great; save the planet. As a student at Georgia Southern University I see my fair share of cans and bottles. What I don’t see however is the proper disposal of these superheroes. One of my fraternity brothers had an idea on how to ensure these materials were correctly recycled to better the Statesboro community. The program is called Greeks go Green and it has taken the community by storm. Every game day copious amounts of waste is produced but until now nothing was done about it. This program consists of every fraternity house on Greek Row gathering empty cans and bottles and bringing them together at our fraternity house to be collected. Once collected my brother takes them to a recycling plant to ensure the appropriate recycling measures are taken. So far over 200 pounds of recyclables have been disposed of and already we are seeing a positive impact in the community.
To touch on the topic, this program has opened up a door to bettering our community here in Statesboro. By recycling these superheroes we have cleaned up materials that would otherwise get thrown in a normal trashcan instead of recycled. By doing this our environment is seeing better days ahead without being cluttered with trash We are also seeing a more proactive mentality in the students. Our community is coming together to accomplish the goal of making a difference.
To me these superheroes represent transformation. They have helped me be apart of something bigger than myself and help the environment. The transformation is not only with the objects themselves; the transformation is bigger than a bottle or a can. I have seen first hand the community working together to clean up after a game day, get the superheroes collected, and then getting them recycled as effectively as possible. The hope with this program is that we can create a systematic change throughout our entire school community to really increase the level of impact we cause. The larger the group, the larger the changes we will see come from such effort.
Not all superheroes wear capes. In this case the superhero is a bottle/can. This superhero does not save someone from drowning or rescue a kitten in a tree. However, what this superhero does do is it brings a couple thousand college students together and gives us an opportunity to make a difference. Our campus is cleaner, the environment is healthier, and the program is growing. These superheroes provide a sense of productivity and teamwork that will in the long run benefit more than the environment; but will send those students involved forward into the future with the goal of making a difference. Thank you superheroes for once again saving the day, and in this case the environment and community at Georgia Southern University as well.

From all of us here at Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful – we extend our heartiest congratulations to Mason for a job well-done!