With the start of school just around the corner, officials from West Virginia University and Project A.L.E.R.T. met with local educators on Tuesday to help students start the year off right.
The Solid Waste, Sustainability, and STEM workshop helps students dispose of hazardous materials properly in their science, technology, engineering, and math classrooms.
"We are trying to reach, specifically, the high schools because they tend to have more recyclables than anybody else. It's a wonderful practice we're working on, and we're trying to get all of the hard-to-recycle items that most people don't know there's an outlet for," said Bridget Benson.
The workshop will continue on Wednesday at the Robert H. Mollohan Research Center.
It's something we've all done: when don't need something anymore, you throw it away.
But officials from Marion and Taylor Counties are working together to urge residents to properly dispose of hazardous materials.
Its name says it all: Project A.L.E.R.T was developed in our area for the Assistance in Lowering Environmental Rural Toxins.
"All the hazardous materials that people don't know what to do with, we're working together to make sure there's an answer to all of their questions," said Bobbi Benson, director of the Marion County Solid Waste Authority.
Those materials can include paint, old oil, and pesticides, according to Benson. She her colleagues have joined forces with officials Taylor County to spread awareness, one reason being to protect our water supply.
"If you flush things down the commode, it gets into the river and the streams, and that's where we get our water supply, especially places down river from us," said Benson.
But it's not only the environment Project A.L.E.R.T. is meant to protect.
"It helps prevent overdoses in young children. Animals have a bad habit of getting into trash, or things that they're not supposed to," said Bridget Benson, program director.
Medicine Disposal Kits help residents to get rid of old prescriptions properly.
"It makes it into an unusable goo, and then you can just put it into your household trash. It doesn't hurt the environment, it's puncture-proof," said Benson.
As for those other materials, Benson offered some helpful tips.
"You let the paint harden in the can, and then your garbage collector will take it. To get it in the hardened state, we suggest you add kitty litter. There's several different places and businesses that will take used oil," said Benson.