By KAROLYN GEPHART
When a determined and accomplished 9 year old wants to make a difference in her community, it can be accomplished in many ways.
Alexandra Castillo is a role model for other kids her age in impacting her community at a level that can be accomplished by someone so young.
She is concerned about recycling acceptable items to keep them out of the landfills.
She monitors eight recycling bins at the Friendswood Girls Softball Association fields where she is on a team.
“After my game I stayed to empty out two of them. Out of the two cans I counted 189 plastic bottles and 45 aluminum cans,” Castillo said.
She continued with the remaining six bins the next day. She found quite a bit of trash in each recycling bin along with the recyclable items. She bags the trash separately in black bags with clear bags for recyclable items.
“I counted 744 plastic bottles and 195 aluminum cans. Thank you Keep Friendswood Beautiful and City of Friendswood for trusting me to take on such a big responsibility,” Castillo said. “I’m now looking for ways to educate the public on what’s recyclable and what is not.”
She plans on making a video on recycling plastic, aluminum, and cardboard. She also wants to have signs made so they can be placed on the recycling bins at the softball fields and also around the community.
Some of her teammates know about the bins and she has the support of the Friendswood Girls Softball Association board.
Every week she checks the bins while she is at practice or multiple times if there is a softball tournament. She then gathers up the bins, lays down tarps or large trash bags and dumps all the contents out to sort.
Trash goes into a trash bag. Then she puts the plastic and aluminum cans in a clear trash bag. She also tries to wash off the recyclables if they have food on them since they can not be recycled if food is there.
. The bags then go into the appropriate dumpsters at the softball fields. One is trash and the other for recyclables. Once the recycling bins are empty she then washes them out.
Castillo also keeps count of the amount collected as recyclables and turns that number into Keep Friendswood Beautiful.
She is currently trying to save money to buy a pressure washer to make it easier to clean the bins but more so to take the food off the cans and plastics. There is still a lot that has to be thrown away because cheese, chili, or other food sold at the softball fields is stuck to the items.
“I want to recycle as much as possible. Recycling is important to help the community, animals, and nature,” Castillo said.
She hopes to inspire other children her age with her platform 1 Smile MADE which stands for Make A Difference Everyday. She also hopes to see more recycling bins located throughout the community.
To thank the Parks and Rec Department for their support, Castillo made face masks with 1 Smile MADE on them and delivered them to staff members recently at City Hall.