By Rachel, OTS Brand Ambassador
As a recent graduate of the Environment and Resource Studies program at the University of Waterloo, and a soon-to-be Master of Teaching student at the University of Toronto, I was keen on finding a way to incorporate environmental education into my summer job this year. Fortunately, my research led me to discover Ontario Tire Stewardship (OTS).
This not-for-profit organization currently does what I hope to see many more organizations do in the future. It provides a way for the tire industry to close the loop on its product life cycle. Once I realized that I would be representing a leader in the field of recycling, while educating the public about how they could get involved, I knew this was going to be the right fit for me.
This summer started off with a detailed look at the tire recycling industry, to the point where I found myself standing at the National Rubber Technologies factory, watching a giant sieve vibrate pieces of steel out of incoming ‘crumb rubber’ – a term I became very familiar with over the course of the Rethink Tires Roadtrip.
Throughout the summer, when my teammates and I weren’t learning about the tire recycling process and the structure of OTS, we were engaging local community members at various Roadtrip stops. Using our booth, we were able to teach people how to better maintain their tire treads, recognize the importance of accurate tire pressure, and rethink the way they currently understand tire disposal.
Oftentimes booth visitors had no idea what happened to their tires after handing them over to their mechanics or taking them to their nearest collection location. The booth also provided a hands-on way for attendees to see what recycled tire products look and feel like. By the end of the summer, I felt like we had made a difference. We got the OTS message across to thousands upon thousands of Ontarians, and I’m looking forward to educating many more in the future.