IWE Success Stories
Area Student Kicks Waste
by Shelly Codner, Area 2
When Ankeny Taekwondo student, Henry Loch, realized just how many new pine boards from his martial arts class were going into the trash and subsequently being landfilled, he knew he had to do something to change this. Henry enlisted the help of his father Robert to assist him in implementing this change.
“We break a lot of boards in our class, especially when we are testing,” stated Henry. “I just thought they could be used for something else instead of going into the garbage.”
Upon seeing how passionate Henry was regarding this issue, Robert reached out to various agencies around the Des Moines metro area, and was consequently referred to Shelly Codner with the Department of Natural Resources Iowa Waste Exchange program. Codner met with Henry and Robert to discuss the logistics of a recycling plan for the boards. They determined that the Lochs would secure the boards from Henry’s class, and when they had a large amount they would contact Codner who would subsequently distribute them to interested parties for repurposing.
“If someone was willing to take that initiative and responsibility, I thought it was a great idea,” Codner stated. “Witnessing Henry’s enthusiasm for this project made me determined to make it happen.”
Henry had researched options for the materials before the meeting with Codner, and had some ideas regarding what could be done with the wood waste. Following the meeting, Codner reached out to various woodworkers and builders, and received a reply from Luke Wright, who coincidentally works for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Wright agreed to take several of the boards, which he used to construct bird houses for various locations throughout the state.
In addition, Codner and the Lochs have heard from several other organizations that are interested in receiving boards in the future, and they will continue to collect and disseminate the broken boards as they are created.
Henry and Robert hope the project will get students interested in recycling. “I think recycling is a very good idea, stated Henry, “throwing good boards in the trash is just a waste.”