The Green Scene an email publication of the Mahoning County Solid Waste District
Green Team

Inside this issue

YSU News
Placemat Contest
Winter Composting
Holiday Trees
Valentine Gifts
World Water Day
Christmas Tree Recycling
E-Waste News
Green Team

As Simple as ABC

Congratulations are in order for four local schools that participated in the Green Tree Plastics ABC Program. ABC stands for “A Bench for Caps” which is a special recycling project that re-quires students to collect, weigh, and manage bottle caps that are delivered to Green Tree Plastics in exchange for park bench-es made from this recy-cled material. The project, which has become quite popular during the past 5 years, accomplishes many goals. It diverts caps, which are not typically included in most recycling programs, from local land-fills and reuses them for a quality product. It allows students to manage a project that offers a long-lasting reward. And it af-fords an opportunity for entire communities to be involved in supporting their local schools.

Mahoning County Schools that participated in the ABC Program are Damascus Elementary, Knox Elementary, Jackson Milton Elementary, and Western Reserve Elemen-tary. An employee in the West Branch District volunteered to pick up the benches for Damascus and Knox and school parent organizations chipped in additional fees needed for the benches. Green Team employees picked up the benches for Jackson Milton and Western Reserve as part of a special grant project that was funded cooperatively by the Green Team and USDA.

If you would like to learn more about this project or are interested in acquiring a bench for caps, call the Green Team or visit the Green Tree Plastics website at

school kids

Students at Western Reserve prepare bottle caps and later enjoy the fruits of their labor.

school kids

Know Before You Throw

It’s wonderful that many people participate in Green Team recycling programs, but it’s important that everyone knows how to recycle correctly. Putting the wrong material in the bins creates problems for material handlers and causes program costs to skyrocket. So...know before you throw.

Materials permitted in recycling bins are:
  • Commingled fibers
  • Food & beverage cans
  • Cartons
  • Plastic containers
  • Glass bottles & jars

Materials not permitted in recycling bins:
  • Plastic bags
  • Styrofoam
  • Plastic furniture / toys
  • Food residue / liquids
  • Clothes hangers
  • Anything that tangles

For more information about this topic, please call us at 330-740-2060.

YSU Gears Up for Recycle Mania

Youngstown State University will be participating for the 15th year in the national RecycleMania competition
beginning February 2, 2020 - March 28, 2020. In 2019, YSU earned a first-place finish in the state of Ohio against 9 other schools and placed 9th overall in the competition.

RecycleMania is a friendly competition between colleges & universities across the U.S. and Canada. Schools compete to see who can reduce, reuse, and recycle the most on-campus waste for coveted bragging rights and a handcrafted recycled/ repurposed trophy for the overall winner!

YSU finished last year’s competition with a recycling rate of 66% by recovering 269,640 pounds of recyclable material that was generated on campus.

To encourage more recycling, YSU uses RecycleMania as a way to increase awareness. Students are acknowledged and rewarded during the eight-week campaign for properly recycling when they are caught “Greenhanded” by YSU Recycling staff. To also promote waste reduction, students are rewarded with either a practical reusable item or discount coupon to a local business that students frequent.

Earth-Day-to-Earth-Day Placemat Contest

Another exciting “Earth Day to Earth Day Placemat Contest” has arrived! Students in grades one through eight in all Mahoning County public and private schools are encouraged to enter this year’s contest. One winner from each grade will receive a $25 gift card from Dominion.

To enter, a student must design a poster with a theme based upon the 3 R’s (Reduce, Reuse, or Recycle) or an anti-litter theme. They may be made with crayon, colored pencil, or markers on 8 and 1/2” by 11” paper or 11” by 17” paper, nothing larger. These are due at the Green Team office by 4:30 pm on Friday, March 13, 2020.

Placemats will be made from the winning posters, and laminated copies will be given to the winning artists at an awards’ ceremony at a Mahoning County Commissioners’ meeting in May. If you have questions, call the Green Team at 330-740-2060.
~ Peg Flynn

Environmental Quote

“It is our collective and individual responsibility to protect and nurture the global family, to support its weaker members and to preserve and tend to the environment in which we all live."
~ Dalai Lama

Winter Composting

While its true that the decomposition process slows down during winter, this is no reason to abandon your compost pile. Just follow these helpful tips for winter composting:

  • Make sure that your backyard bin is located near your house. No one wants to walk far in knee-deep snow.
  • Don’t turn your pile when it’s really cold. Turning lets all that valuable heat out that fungus and bacteria need to survive.
  • Make sure that you add shredded newsprint or autumn leaves to your pile for a good source of carbon. 
  • Don’t water your pile. Watering is unnecessary since the pile is mostly inactive.
  • Cut food scraps into smaller pieces. This will expedite the composting process.
  • Keep smiling. Soon it will be spring.

What Happens to Holiday Trees?

For the past 27 years, the Green Team has provided a Christmas tree recycling program for Mahoning Valley residents. In spite of the artificial tree’s popularity, cut trees are still enjoyed by many people. Therefore, it is important to provide re-cycling opportunities for discarded trees so that they don’t end up in a landfill.

When you take your cut tree to one of our participating drop-off sites, you can
be sure that it will be recycled. When the program originated in 1992, trees were mulched at each collection site and used in community landscaping projects. Beginning in 2007, however, the program experienced a change. For the past 12 years we have been donating trees to the Ohio Department of Natural Re-sources (ODNR) for use as wildlife habitat. Through this partnership, 901,455 pounds of trees have been diverted from the waste stream and submerged in local lakes for fish structures.

If you are one of the per-sons still enjoying a cut Christmas tree during the holidays, please remember to recycle. A list of designated drop-off sites is printed on page 4 of this publication. Trees will be accepted until January 31.


ODNR staff place Christ-mas trees in area lakes for wildlife habitat.


Expressions of Love

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, many of you will be searching for the perfect gift. This year, in addition to expressing your love for that special some-one, why not express appreciation for the one who loves you unconditionally: Mother Nature. You can save trees and support wildlife by sending your beloved an e-card from
the World Wildlife Fund Visit for options.

After you have selected a card, you’ll want to buy a gift. If chocolate is on your list, be sure that it is eco-friendly. The Rainforest Alliance and The Arbor Day Foundation both sell deli-cious shade-grown organic chocolates that are farmed using fair trade practices. Flowers should be selected in a similar fashion. For a list of florists that offer organic, fair-trade flowers, visit

Finally, if your sweetheart likes bling, be sure to ask your jeweler about sustainably mined gemstones. Better yet, check out an estate sale or second-hand store and buy a vintage piece. You’ just might be surprised at the treasures you’ll find.

For a list of “green” Valentine’s Day
tips, check out

world water day

World Water Day

World Water Day, celebrated on March 22, is an international observance day. The intention is to in-spire people around the world to learn more about water-related issues and to take action to make a difference. A wonderful way to observe this special day is to make changes in your life that incorporate water conservation measures. These measures include:

  • Only drinking water from a refillable container.
  • Turning off the water while you brush your teeth.
  • Running the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads.
  • Watering your lawn only when it needs it.
  • Capturing rainwater.
  • Keeping your plumbing in good repair.
  • Xeriscaping your yard.
  • Composting food & yard waste then applying the compost instead of using harsh fertilizers.
  • Taking short showers instead of baths.
  • Installing low flow fixtures.

Post-Holiday Reminder

Between now and January 31, gift-wrap and greeting cards will be accepted at all Mahoning County drop-off sites and at the curb. Be sure that paper is loose or in a
brown paper bag. Plastic bags are not permitted in any of the Green Team programs. Cut trees will be accepted at the locations listed below:
* Austintown Twp. Park - 6000 Kirk Rd.
* Berlin Twp. Bldg.- St. Rt. 224, Berlin Center
* Campbell Roosevelt Park - Struthers Liberty Rd.
* Canfield Twp. Fire Station - 5007 Messerly Rd.
* Craig Beach / Milton Twp. - 1979 Grandview, next to fire station
* Ellsworth Twp. Fire Station.- St. Rt. 45, Ellsworth
* Goshen Twp. Maintenance Garage - 12649 Seacrist Rd, Salem
* Green Twp. Cemetery - Intersection of St. Rt. 165 & Beaver Creek Rd.
* Jackson Twp. Admin. Bldg., 10613 Mahoning Ave, N. Jackson
* Lowellville Village St. Dept.- 3 W. McGaffney Rd.
* New Middletown / Springfield - 10720 Struthers Rd, at recycling center
* Poland Twp. Rd. Dept.-7508 Clingan Rd.
* Smith Twp. Bldg.- 846 N. Johnson Rd, Sebring
* Struthers City provides curbside pick-up
* Youngstown - CCA Building (former South Library) 1771 Market St.


E-Waste Update

If you received a new computer, TV or other electronic device for Christmas please remember to recycle your old
unit. For a complete list of local electronic recycling
facilities visit our website at and refer to the recycling catalog. And remember: Always phone ahead for specific information about electronic and all recycling programs.

For further information about recycling and other  solid waste management programs, visit our website at    
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