Scout leads schools in 10-ton phone book collection

It all started at Jerry Whitehead when Tim Hansen, then a sixth-grader, decided that students could help collect the community’s used phone books for recycling. Organizing such a project would not only be useful for the environment, it’d also help the Boy Scout work toward the coveted Hornaday Award, given to only a few carefully selected Scouts. That was last year, and Tim helped his school collect four tons of phone books.

This year, the project grew. With sponsorship from Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful, SBC Nevada Bell and RSW Recycling, students from six schools collected thousands of phone books—about 10 tons or more at last count, said Tim, who’s 12.

“This is pretty important, because a lot of phone books go in the landfill,” he said. “You know how much space a phone book can take up. That fills it up, so there won’t be room for other objects, like banana peels. It also saves trees and gives kids a fun way to be involved in their community.”

We wrote about Tim and his twin, Craig, who organized the Truckee River Awareness Day, in August [RN&R, Pulse, Aug. 1]. Both boys have been as busy as ever since then. To receive the Hornaday, each boy must complete four projects in four different areas of the community. Besides heading the phone-book-recycling campaign, Tim is working on acquiring equipment and teams of young people to build bird houses for retirement facilities. He also calls himself the “little person coordinator” of the Stillwater wetlands restoration project.