On Tuesday, April 22nd, a new mural was unveiled at the Snow College Recycling facility as part of a service project by a small group of students participating in the Snow Service Scholar Award Program.
A large honeybee mural, made up of colored bottle caps, was revealed at the event and will now become a permanent fixture at the recycling center.
Alexis Kempner, Savannah Sloan, Rebecca Yost, and Lydia Finlinson came up with the idea to repurpose (otherwise known as upcycling) the bottle caps as a piece of community art, and decided to create the mural out of non-recyclable plastic bottle caps.
An estimated fifty-plus students and faculty were in attendance, while Trent Hanna, along with students from the music department, provided a drum circle for entertainment.
The service group discussed the importance of finding possible uses for objects that have seemingly lost their functional purpose. The project was also intended to raise awareness about the recycling program and the amount of plastic bottles that make their way through the facility, a minuscule portion of the plastic containers used annually in Ephraim City.
In order to choose a design the group organized an art contest, and Snow College art student Ashley Reid’s design of a bee standing atop honeycomb was chosen for the project. Adam Larsen of the visual arts program and English Brooks assisted with the project, donating their own time and labor.
Rachel Keller and her husband Lamar initiated the plastic recycling partnership here at Snow two years ago, and each donated their time every other weekend until the program was up and running for students to participate in. With the program fully operational at this juncture, Ephraim city currently provides a paid city employee who now works on a weekly basis at the recycling partnership.
Snow College Physical facilities, especially Bob Oliver, Mike Duncan and Lamar Keller were integral to the establishment of the plastic recycling partnership, and supportive of the mural project. UDOT donated the signs that were used as the surface that the bottle caps were glued to.
A speech was delivered by the students, and Rebecca Yost gave some statistics to the audience in support of the importance of recycling, emphasizing the difference that could be made if projects like this were greatly expanded.
Here are some plastic recycling facts from the Recycling Coalition of Utah: One ton of recycled plastic saves 5,774 kWh of electricity, 685 gallons of oil, 98 million BTUs of energy, 30 cubic yards of landfill space.
Additionally: Plastic takes up to 1,000 years to degrade in a landfill; Recycling plastic takes 88% less energy than making plastic from raw materials; Americans throw away 35 billion plastic bottles every year; Only about 25% of the plastic produced in the U.S. is recycled; If we recycled (or stopped using!) the other 75% we could save 1 billion gallons of oil and 44 million cubic yards of landfill space annually; A plastic bottle of drinking water contains on average 4 cents worth of water.
For more information about how you can get involved with the Snow College plastic recycling partnership, please go to http://www.snow.edu/facilities/recycle/recycle1.html.