Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Taking an Active Role Mt. Lebanon Teen Explores Recycling Issues

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Taking an Active Role Mt. Lebanon Teen Explores Recycling Issues

Article excerpt

The workings of local government generally rank low on a list of teenagers' interests.

But one Mt. Lebanon High School student came up with a way to get her classmates interested in how decisions that affect their community are made.

Mira Shenouda, a 16-year-old junior, developed a survey on a topic that affects all local families: how the municipality will handle recycling in the future. More than 200 freshmen through seniors weighed in with their opinions.

"I really wanted to show the students they do have an impact on what happens, at least to an extent," said Mira, who served as junior commissioner on the Mt. Lebanon Commission during the first semester of 2013-14.

She shared the results with an impressed group of commissioners, including Kelly Fraasch, who first talked with Mira about the concept of the survey.

"What I primarily get out of a project like this is at least a few kids took the survey, then went home and talked to their parents about the options we're mulling," Mrs. Fraasch said. The commissioners hope to come up with a recycling plan by summer.

Mira's survey asked students to rank their preference for four recycling options under consideration:

. Pay As You Throw, in which residents would pay extra for producing larger volumes of non-recycled waste;

. Automated recycling collection, which would provide residents with recycling carts that would be picked up by trucks equipped with automated arms;

. Community Recycling Rewards, in which the municipality can earn a grant toward a charitable organization or community project based on participation in recycling efforts;

. Individual/Family Recycling Rewards Bank, which would allow families to earn gift cards or coupons.

Mira titled her project "Carrots or sticks?" in reference to whether students preferred incentives or penalties with regard to recycling. …

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