Cynthia Coss is working to provide waste reduction education opportunities, for residents of Athens and Hocking counties, through her current position as the Education Coordinator for the Athens-Hocking Solid Waste District (AHSWD).
“I enjoy working with the public and helping to educate about what we can do to help the earth. Humans are the ones that created the current issues and I feel that it is important for us to be the ones to correct the problem,” Coss said.
Coss’s position is funded by a grant that was secured by the Appalachia Ohio Zero Waste Initiative (AOZWI) on behalf of AHSWD through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Prior to Coss taking on the position in October, the Education Coordinator position had been vacant for over six years.
In her short time as Education Coordinator, Coss helped place additional recycling roll-off containers in more locations within Athens and Hocking counties. The roll-offs are 30 yard dumpsters with compartments for paper and cardboard, bottles and cans, and glass that are placed for a period of time in a community. Many communities that only had access to recycling for four hours, once a month, now have access to recycling for one week. Because of the new roll-off containers, secured through a grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) written by the Zero Waste Initiative on behalf of the AHSWD, there are also an increased number of drop-off sites.
“It has been very rewarding to see these containers come back to the center full of recyclables. I look forward to creating even more of these opportunities for residents,” said Coss
A major component of Coss’ work is visiting schools, scout organizations, and preschools to teach about the importance of recycling and proper waste practices. Coss and District Operations Coordinator Roger Bail have been able to introduce a recycling program into the Trimble Local School District. With the help of Bail, dedicated Trimble School staff, Hocking Athens Perry Community Action and the AOZWI, Coss hopes to maintain a strong recycling program and partnership with the Trimble Schools.
ODNR has also awarded the AHSWD a grant, which was written by Coss, to promote litter pickup and recycling in the month of May. Coss wrote this grant in hopes to give residents an opportunity to improve the areas in which they live.
“I wanted everyone, including children, to have a chance to help. After all, these children will be the ones that will be here after we are gone. I feel that teaching children about good earth practices now will help to ensure these practices in the future.”
Coss has always had a strong interest in community education. She was a naturalist for thirteen years before becoming the Education Coordinator for AHSWD. Coss was born and raised in Southeast Ohio and deeply cares about the health of her community and its residents. If you are interested in Coss’ educational programs about recycling and proper waste practices, you can contact her by email at email@example.com.
AOZWI is building a community of people who are doing fantastic zero waste work in Appalachia Ohio. If you know of a person we should interview, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.