2009-2010 Winners
Ellis Shwarts
Age: 19

Dallas, TX

Ellis is planning to attend The University of Texas in the Fall of 2009 in the field of Biomedical Engineering.

With the green movement gaining momentum, my father is at the front lines with the recycling of metals. Commercial Metals is one of the leading companies in recycling of both ferrous and non-ferrous metals. I remember the first time my father told me of the importance of recycling. Not only did I earn a few dollars off the aluminum cans that I had collected, but I contributed to lowering energy costs for aluminum companies. Being a math major, I was amazed by how simply recycling aluminum can lower a company's energy usage by 95%.

With my father's influence, I continued to recycle throughout high school and my first year at college. This year I have taken an even greater initiative in bringing recycling programs to the many organizations that I belong to. In my fraternity, I talked to the executive board about getting a recycling program for the fraternity house. There is so much wasted in the house, a recycling program would be extremely beneficial. I even looked into getting a recycling bin from a local company to recycle all of our extra paper. Every day in the fraternity, we get the college newspaper. Most days, this paper gets tossed in the trashed; however, with my plan for recycling, this paper could be used again for the local newspaper.

During my job this semester, I took part in writing a proposal for bringing more eco- friendly cups and silverware to the Texas Hillel. It takes 20% to 50% less fossil fuels to produce these cups. The cups and silverware are also 100% compostable and biodegradable. Another one of my coworkers and I did a cost-benefit analysis of using these cups and silverware as opposed to the traditional Styrofoam cups. Despite being slightly more expensive, the environmental impact would be amazing.

In my community service organization, Texas Blazers, recycling is a major portion of the service obligations. On one occasion, instead of the traditional paper and glass recycling items, we recycled used clothing. The organization has given me many opportunities to help out those less fortunate with gently used clothing. The Blazers help the environment in more ways by having park clean up days at the local creek.

Though, he only works in one sector of the recycling industry, my father is a major influence on my commitment to keeping a more energy efficient lifestyle. Through the use of compact fluorescent light bulbs and recycling of all sorts, I continually renew my pledge of energy conservation. I am extremely glad that my father has implanted his care for the environment in me.


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