Going for Green in Lyons

By Kathleen Thurmes - Eco-Cycle Lyons Zero Waste Coordinator
When I was a kid, ding-dong-ditch was on par with prank calling as the most daring thing that young mischief-makers could get up to while their parents weren’t around.

In recent weeks local teenagers have been ringing doorbells around town, but they have no intention of “ditching” before the occupants come out. Dressed in Eco-Cycle t-shirts and armed with clipboards and tablets, these students from the Lyons Middle/Senior High are part of the Lyons Green Star Community Project internship program, and they’re eager to talk to community members about Zero Waste.

The internship program gives Lyons students between the ages of 14 and 17 the opportunity to gain work experience, hone their communication skills, and become local experts on all things Zero Waste. One of their big projects this summer is surveying Lyons residents about their recycling and composting habits.

“The internship gives us a taste of what real jobs are like,” said Lia Malito, a Lyons resident and Green Star intern. “Plus, I’ve learned a lot about resources that are available to help people live more sustainably. Recycling is important because it preserves resources so that others can enjoy them too.”

The results of the approximately 700 household survey will be used by the Town of Lyons and Eco-Cycle to set Zero Waste goals and then customize a program to achieve them. “It’s critical that the project be guided by the community’s values and reflects what residents really want in terms of recycling, composting, and other Zero Waste services and practices”, said Randy Moorman, Community Campaigns Director at Eco-Cycle. “That’s why this initial survey is critical to the success of this project.”

While the survey is ongoing, it is clear that the majority of Lyons residents already participate in recycling- either using a curbside pick-up service or the Lyons drop-off site. Additionally, folks in Lyons are eager to initiate and expand access to composting services in town.

The interns have already visited many of the neighborhoods in Lyons, and they’ve been received extremely warmly (as one might expect from Lyons folks!). Please keep an eye out for them and know that snacks and a cold glass of water are always appreciated!

A huge thank you goes out to former interns Anna Knipscheer, Lydia Heinen, Megan Neufeld, Logan Kuskie, Sydney Adams, Jaiden Batts, Justyn Byrnes, Divinity Cooley, and Lia Malito for all the hard work they’ve put into the Lyons Green Star Community Project this spring and summer. Eco-Cycle is looking forward to working with more enthusiastic interns through the spring of next year.

On a different topic, please save the date for the evening of August 26th for a zero waste-themed, family-friendly concert in Lyons! Jeff and Paige, the magical, musical, story-telling duo will be performing and there will be educational booths, games for kids, and food. The event is free and open to the public!

The Town of Lyons is working with Eco-Cycle to become a model “Green Star” Zero Waste Community  for other small towns to emulate. Get involved! Email Kathleen Thurmes at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (and submit any questions you’d like to see answered in this column)!

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