Baldwin students contribute to Covestro recycling project


Image contributed by Maria Hausman

Baldwin and South Fayette students team up with Covestro in an attempt to enact environmental change.

Eli Achtzehn, Staff Writer

A group of Baldwin students have been teaming up with students at South Fayette as part of a project that they hope will enact real environmental change. 

The project entails each group working with Covestro, a company that is a leading producer of plastics and has offices in Pittsburgh. The students are consulting with Covestro on their collection of waste from electronic products so that they are able to meet the UN’s sustainability standards.

South Fayette has done school business partnerships like this one before, even having a class dedicated to it, so Baldwin was joining a project that was already in motion.

Math teacher Maria Hausman is leading the Baldwin side of the project. Though Hausman’s husband is a teacher at South Fayette and is involved in this project, she said that Principal Shaun Tomaszewski is the one who made this connection between the schools.

“Mr. T is really into project-based learning, and he was the one that got us involved in this,” Hausman said.

Baldwin’s contribution focused on creating a survey that asked questions about how willing people would be to recycle and what drives people to make decisions surrounding their electronic and recycling habits. The goal is to give Covestro data on public opinion about electronic recycling.

The survey, which got 1,207 responses, was administered in both the Baldwin and South Fayette school districts. Covestro also put the survey on its website, which opened it up to a wider audience.

“The survey was taken across the world,” Hausman said. “The farthest person to take it was in Finland.”

South Fayette helped to administer the survey, but their main part in this project will be putting together the final product, using the data from Baldwin’s survey to make the case to Covestro in a presentation on Friday, Hausman said.

The Baldwin students also will be at Friday’s presentation, and they have been heavily involved in the entire process. They visited the Covestro office in January alongside South Fayette students, and they were named consultants by the company, even being given business cards.

South Fayette has had similar consulting projects lead to real change in previous years, in one case helping to convince a company to switch to LED lights. This possibility for change is what inspired some Baldwin students to participate.

“The recycling aspect of this is what got me interested,” senior Alex Demko said. Demko plans to be an environmental engineer, which further drove him to become involved.

“A lot more people would be willing to buy more from recycled materials than I thought,” Demko said, citing survey results. “We found that the market is there. We just need to put stuff out there.”