Student urges ski recycling program

DOVER - At the Dover Selectboard’s meeting on Tuesday, Dover School student Connor Garber Dee suggested that the board consider free drop-offs of ski equipment once a year, on Green Up Day. The board was amenable to the recommendation and board member Joe Mahon took it a step further, suggesting that the town foot the bill to recycle the skis. Road commissioner Bobby Holland said he would like to do more research on the matter. 
Connor said Rossignol, a ski manufacturer, partnered with Recycle Utah and Snow Sports Industries America last year to recycle skis. 
“Rossignol housed everything and chopped the skis up,” said Connor. “Sports Industry America then delivered the gear to Loveland, Colorado, where it was separated. The program is working with Earth Enterprises Inc. to create new equipment out of recycled gear.” 
Connor said there is a hope that this type of programming may come to the East Coast. “Skis, snowboards, and equipment in general are not the most environmentally friendly thing to produce. They’re made out of woods, plastics, fiberglass, and carbon fibers,” said Connor. “We can only hope that one day we will be able to recycle skis for free without having to dump them.”
Board member Sarah Shippee noted that Twice Blessed does not accept skis.  Connor said there are other ways to discard skis. “You can go to a ski swap or you can give them to them and they’ll try to sell them for you; you can go to Green Man Furniture in Waterbury and make ski benches or ski chairs out of them; and Steve Suponski, a local scrap metal man, will take them and use them for scrap.”
Currently, Connor said, it costs $5 to bring skis to the transfer station and $2 for boots. “So you’re talking $7 to get rid of gear,” said chair Josh Cohen. “I can see this being an issue.” 
Vice chair Vicki Capitani said she had concerns that ski shops would abuse a free pass on Green Up Day and dump entire inventories. “That could be a lot,” she said. Board member Sarah Shippee suggested a limit to the number of pairs that could be brought in or a regulation that the initiative be for non-commercial use only. 
Mahon suggested that the board look for a way to send collected skis out for recycling, similar to the program in Utah that Connor talked about. “It would cost us a little bit but at least we’d be doing the right thing as opposed to throwing them in the dumpster,” said Mahon.
Holland said he’d like to do some research about where recycling may occur and for how much. The board tabled the matter pending that additional information from Holland. 
Connor presented the matter as part of his exhibition project for Dover’s International Baccalaureate program. The IB program is a learning model used throughout the Dover School. It is an educational philosophy and approach rooted in inquiry-based learning and global thinking. In a student’s final year in the program, which at the Dover School is sixth grade, he or she completes an exhibition project which challenges students to choose an issue to look at from both a local and global perspective. 
A few weeks ago, two other Dover School students gave a presentation as part of their exhibition project. They suggested adding new signage in the town to encourage use of the transfer station and to discourage garbage being thrown on roadways. The board approved the measure.

The Deerfield Valley News

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