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  • Alexa Green

140 High School Students from South Korea Visit Central Park to Help Increase US Recycling Levels

A few months ago, we were contacted by Hwayoung Lee, an english teacher for Incheon International High School (IIHS) in South Korea. 140 students set up shop in Central Park on October 14th, with a mission to teach Americans how to recycle right! The students introduced the public to the Recycle Across America website and asked people to sign a petition to encourage Mayors across the country to adopt standardized labeling in their communities. This was all part of their 11 day environmental campaign in America which included a lecture at Harvard as well as tours of Harvard, Yale, MIT and the University of Utah. The students also attended a session at the UN, toured Wall Street, and did some site-seeing in NYC, Washington D.C., Las Vegas and L.A. before returning home to Korea.

Why come to the U.S. to encourage people to recycle more and recycle right?

Because the students from South Korea are aware that despite the U.S. only representing 5% of the global population:

  • The U.S. generates more waste than any other country in the world,

  • The U.S. depletes more finite natural resources than any other country in the world,

  • We are the second largest contributor of CO2 levels globally.

  • Yet sadly, the U.S. recycling levels are among the lowest. This is why these students feel compelled to come all the way from South Korea to help promote recycling on our soil. We have the greatest ability and the greatest responsibility to affect change and set a global example for making recycling and closed loop manufacturing thrive.

Despite living with the daily threat of nuclear warfare, these students are proving to the world that there is still hope. They are motivated to create positive change globally and they are our future.

They called their trip "Global Impact" and this year's topic for the campaign was "Keep the Earth Beautiful." While searching for an effective way to campaign and teach Americans about recycling, they found the Recycle Across America website and elected to base their campaign around the mission to standardize recycling labels to make it easy for the public to recycle right.

For the past few months, IIHS students have prepared for this campaign by creating leaflets, recycling games and quizzes, dart boards, handmade upcycling goods, and mini music concerts. Each leaflet will include the Recycle Across America Mayor’s Petition QR code and a brief explanation of what RAA does.

Their main goals were to:

  1. Explain the importance of recycling to people in Central Park with leaflets/brochures and other campaign tools.

  2. Introduce the website "” and ask people to sign the petition.

Lee says, “This is a chance for my students -- who are able and have great capabilities as a global leader in the future -- to act as a global citizen who are not just confined to the country they live in.”

Check out the photos from the event!

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