Green Earth Community Knowledge Organization

“We’re trying to be that push,” says Ikya Kandula.

“We’re trying to be that push,” says Ikya Kandula.


To learn more about Kandula’s recycling efforts, or to submit to the video contest, visit www.truckee meadowsrecycling.com.

The standards are set pretty high for the younger generation because they might be—and have to be—the ones to make a lasting environmentally-conscious impact on the world. Ikya Kandula, a junior at the Davidson Academy of Nevada and president of the Green Earth Community Knowledge Organization (GECKO), envisions that starting right at home through her efforts to establish a city-wide recycling program for apartment residents.

Kandula is in the process of collecting data on which apartments in the city offer recycling to residents. She was surprised by the amount of residencies that did not have, or want to make, recycling available.

“The landlords are the ones who get to make that decision,” she says. “We want to give resources to the people who live there to ask their landlords about it.”

Kandula, her classmates and advisors have been contacting landlords directly to discuss options for how they can better prevent waste from ending up in landfills. She has also been collaborating with Waste Management Inc., who she says have been “very supportive,” given their recent push toward establishing single-stream recycling throughout the city. But she says that GECKO and WM can only do so much—the City Council needs to establish apartment recycling as a mandate, or establish stricter guidelines for landlord’s choices.

“The majority of the landlords said no,” she says. “It’s because the city is not initiating that. To get a push, the city may need to make it mandatory.”

Kandula wants to make the list of apartments without recycling public so that others can contact landlords and residents, and encourage them to develop a better system for tossing and reusing items.

The Davidson Academy already hosts a recycling program for students and their families. They also hold a swap day where families can bring in their used goods and trade with others. According to Kandula, her peers take recycling seriously.

“There are bins at every corner [in the school],” she says. “It would be harder to not recycle. But students also are aware of what they are using and throwing away. So we want to raise that awareness for the community.”

GECKO will be holding a video contest for all Reno students age 12 to 18 to answer the question, “Why do you recycle?” WM will share the students’ videos on their Truckee Meadows Recycling website, and the winner will receive $500.

“We want students to show parents and the community that they want recycling available everywhere,” she said.

GECKO received $1000 in the GreeNevada sustainability plan competition in August that went toward using bicycle generators to charge laptop carts around school. Kandula says that the school may offer physical education credit for students who use the bicycle to supply energy for the school. GECKO plans to enter GreeNevada again for future projects.

In the meantime, Kandula hopes that her peers will continue to look for small changes they can make in their own lives.

“We hope that people will get more involved,” Kandula said. “Sometimes people just need a push, and we’re trying to be that push.”