2023, CINCINNATI, OH, USA
Lloyd Par, a junior at Spencer Center for Gifted and Exceptional Students, originally proposed replacing the Paper towel dispensers around his school with cloth roll towel dispensers in order to reduce the paper towel waste directly. However, the school board did not approve the project due to health and maintenance concerns. Lloyd pivoted his project to instead focused on the educational portion of his original proposal. He reworked the entire project and his budget in order to focus on his new vision.
First, Lloyd researched and created a survey to have data about the student and staff’s paper towel use habits. He then created a presentation and posters to shed light on the issues of paper towel waste. He even created a Jingle PSA to go along with the presentation and to be showcased in the halls for community engagement. He also created a quiz at the end of every presentation, giving out stickers for prizes to ensure that students were engaged in the lesson and really driving home the impact of paper towel waste. All of this served to inform the students and staff on more sustainable paper towel use at school (ex. using one paper towel or using the hand dryers). However, a big part of this project was focused on home use as well.
Finding out through the survey that a significant portion of the school community used paper towels at home for cleaning and hand drying, he decided to add this issue into his educational campaign. He suggested using cloth towels for hand drying and Swedish dishcloths for cleaning at home and added these into his presentation. He even gifted each student and staff member a Swedish dishcloth which is a reusable option instead of paper towels. This helped each family begin their transition to more sustainable paper towel home usage and lead to a bigger impact than he originally proposed.
Over time, his educational campaign will create a ripple effect to all Spencer Center families, since their students will come home advocating to reduce their paper towel waste. These efforts address the 12th Sustainable Goal made by the UN: “By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse.” Lloyd not only worked hard on this project himself but also rallied the entire school community to assist with his project, furthering their commitment to the change. Lloyd hopes that his educational outreach will inspire others to continue the efforts and share what they’ve learned about reducing paper towel waste throughout their communities and the world!