Courtesy photos | Morrow County Recycling

Gilead Christian High School student Trent Ferguson presents to the judges during the first-ever Recycling Entrepreneurship Competition.

Courtesy | Morrow County Recycling

Submitted story

On Nov. 18, two local high school students competed in the inaugural Recycling Entrepreneurship Competition following a seven-month competitive period. It began in late April with announcements to help students prepare over the summer.

At the beginning of the school year, hosts Kristin Ruth, director of Morrow County Recycling, and Angela Powell, Morrow County development coordinator, began visiting schools and talking with students about the potential to win up to $1,000. Students were tasked with creating an innovative product that utilizes the principles of reduce, reuse, and recycle, coupled with a plan to turn their recycled product into a business.

The goal of the competition was to promote recycling, environmentalism, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Ruth and Powell were inspired by local businessman Chris Gabrelcik, who has had several successful business ventures, including Lubrication Specialties, Inc. (LSI) and Microwave Renewable Technologies (MRT). His latest business venture, MRT, features the “Tire Hog,” a machine that recycles 100% of a tire into gas, oil, and carbon black.

Taking the challenge head-on were Trent Ferguson and Lily Melvin, who stood before judges Tim Abraham (Morrow County commissioner), Jamie Brucker (Morrow County director of operations), Faith Kunze (Mid-Ohio Sanitation and Recycling), and Ruth. Ferguson and Melvin presented their innovative projects using visual aids, which included their recycled products as well as a business plan for marketing and selling their products.

Ferguson, representing Gilead Christian High School, won the $1,000 first-place prize in the Morrow County Recycling Entrepreneurship Competition. He created fire starters out of dryer lint, a used dryer sheet, and strings found in the laundry. His product is made from 100 percent recycled materials. These eco-friendly fire starters burn for seven minutes and are great for campers and wood-burning stoves.

Melvin, from The Tomorrow Center, was the second-place winner and received $500. Her project was recreating home décor art out of glass found throughout Morrow County. She even used glass found at The Tomorrow Center’s river clean-up event in September. Her inspiration for the project was her grandmother.

The winning projects will be on display at Mt. Gilead High School through Dec. 1, followed by an exhibition at Mt. Gilead Public Library until Dec. 15. Afterwards, the projects will be making appearances at local schools, showcasing the students’ creativity and commitment to sustainability.

The event was sponsored by DKMM Solid Waste District. DKMM supplied a grant for winners. Congratulations to Ferguson and Melvin for their outstanding upcycled innovations!

Submitted by the Morrow County Recycling and Morrow County Development Office.

Submitted by the Morrow County Recycling and Morrow County Development Office.