Recycling Design Challenge in Fabrication Lab Yields Innovative Results for Subaru and Grand Teton National Park’s Zero Landfill Project

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Recycling Design Challenge in Fabrication Lab Yields Innovative Results for Subaru and Grand Teton National Park’s Zero Landfill Project

Thursday, March 16, 2017 - 2:20pm

CAMPAIGN: Subaru's Love Promise: Environment

CONTENT: Press Release

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo., March 16, 2017 /3BL Media/ -- Student designers are helping to inspire recycling in Grand Teton National Park, thanks to a visionary program titled, Building STEAM, led by Jackson Hole Public Art in partnership with Grand Teton National Park and Teton County School District, and funded by Subaru of America, Inc. as part of its Zero Landfill Initiative where the automaker is sharing its knowledge of zero landfill practices with the national parks and working towards a goal of significantly reducing waste going into landfills.   

Students enrolled in Jackson Hole High School’s Fabrication Lab have created concept designs to increase recycling within Grand Teton National Park, proposing a range of concepts from recycling containers to educational exhibits and messaging. The overarching goal is to improve the park’s diversion rate and facilitate easier collection, while communicating to a diverse audience that recycling can be fun.

Starting in December, students conducted research, participated in site visits, and held stakeholder interviews. By employing Stanford University’s Design Thinking Process to evolve their concepts, students created prototypes and tested various solutions, culminating in the development of highly innovative final design concepts.

Last week, eight student teams presented their concepts to a panel of Subaru, Grand Teton National Park, and National Parks Conservation Association staff with impressive results.

The STREAM (Science, Technology, Recycling, Engineering, Arts, Math) team project was selected for its excellence in use of repurposed materials, and strong messaging. Their concept depicts the number of bottles used in one day in the park and includes shimmering fish and flowing rivers constructed from cans and plastic bottles.

My favorite thing about this project is that I am making something that revolves around art and design instead of my first idea of just making a different type of recycling bin. I’ve started thinking outside the box and have found a way to show how recycling can be turned into a very fun and alluring piece of art. It shows the public that the materials they recycle can be used to create something that you wouldn’t expect. – Raegin

Mountain Recycling and Zero Waste Bin, two receptacle projects, were identified for excellence in design, innovative use of materials and engaging messaging. They will combine to work as a team to create a final receptacle design and water refill station messaging.

Our favorite thing about this project is how it makes people think about and understand that they can make a choice when they go and recycle their materials in the park. – Ashley, Vinny, Gage, Gus

Next steps for the class include further prototyping of actual materials, budgeting, and engineering in preparation for fabrication and installation. Throughout the design process students in the Fab Lab work in teams, to “mash-up” similar ideas into stronger concepts through collaboration, mirroring a process that is similar to how design team projects evolve in a professional setting.

The review panel criteria shared with teams in advance of their presentations included: buildability and functionality, excellence in design and creativity, and public engagement, and impact. Every concept that was presented has the potential to be developed into a functional project, and some of the projects may still come to fruition.

Ultimately, this Building STEAM project engages students as ambassadors of the park and promoters of resource reuse. STEAM introduces students to a variety of professions and equips them with the ability to develop a concept from design into production through a collaborative, creative problem-solving process that can be replicated in any future profession they choose to work in.

Subaru of America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. of Japan. Headquartered at a zero-landfill office in Cherry Hill, N.J., the company markets and distributes Subaru vehicles, parts, and accessories through a network of more than 620 retailers across the United States. All Subaru products are manufactured in zero-landfill production plants, and Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc. is the only U.S. automobile production plant to be designated a backyard wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. For additional information, visit

Diane Anton
Corporate Communications Manager
Subaru of America, Inc. I 856.488.5093 I

The Jackson Hole High School Digital Fabrication Lab started in the fall of 2013 with 100 students.  The FabLab is a creative space for students to engage in the design thinking process where they solve problems using collaboration, prototyping, and high tech tools found in makerspaces.

Sammie Smith
Director of JHHS Digital Fabrication Lab
Jackson Hole High School | 307-732-3775 |

Jackson Hole Public Art forges partnerships for the integration of art into any environment, to inspire lasting cultural, educational and economic benefits. Jackson Hole Public Art’s Building STEAM program was formed two years ago by artist-on-staff Bland Hoke to introduce high school students to community issues ripe for creative problem-solving. Learn more at

Carrie Geraci
Executive Director | 307-413-1474 |


Madden Hart, Curran Tepe: Seeing Makes a Difference

Using the acronym SIRC (See Inspire Recycle Change) as a guide, they created a recycling artwork that focuses on manipulating light. The main art object is modeled after a giant upright log (similar to those that support the Craig Thomas Visitor Center) but hollowed to have lighting inside that can change as it rotates. It looks a bit like a kaleidoscope. There is a triangular acrylic box that surrounds the log, at seating height that contains recycled materials and recycling messaging. The team wants to message that something as simple as seeing recycling can inspire people to recycle.

Chris Dennis, Jack Thomas: Interactive Animal Recycling

They want recycling to be fun and interactive for the public. The project is a rotating platform with three oversized animals you might spot in the park (bear, moose, elk, for instance). The animals are created from recycled objects (moose from cans, bear from bottles, for instance). Another platform nearby has a handle that you can move in a circle, and that platform is geared into the animal platform. A user can spin the platform via the handle so they can recycle into the animal/recycle material of their choice.

Ashley Orsillo, Vinny Caffaro, Gage Graus, Gus Armijo: Mountain Recyling

This team wants to inspire people to recycle materials and self-sort. There are several parts to their recycling project. The first is a three dimensional, see-through recycling bin shaped like the mountains - clear construction so you can see the materials inside to better inform what goes in. A fill station for guests to refill their plastic water bottles rather than recycle them. Paw prints on the floor will lead a guest to the recycle bins and/or the refill station, giving them a choice. Video panel above the refill station can show the park’s scenic beauty, helping people make the right choice.

Hayden Colonel, Alex Ransom, Gerardo Becerra: Mood Board

A three-pronged project, the first part involves recycling bags inspired by dog waste baggies. The bags (reused plastic bags or made from recycled materials) would be provided to visitors at park entry, campgrounds, visitor centers, to collect their recyclables. The bag has a printed map on it showing locations within the park that accept recycling. Part two in an elk sculpture made from wire that uses recycled materials woven into it. Eye-catching, the wire elk would attract visitors who will learn about recycling and the bags. Various wildlife sculptures, made from recycled materials each year, could be auctioned off at the end of the summer season. Part three is a recycling game located near the bags and wire elk, so that children can participate in recycling basketball, for example.

Skylar Lewis, Milan Tonkin: Zero Waste Bin

Based on the understanding that existing recycle bins are not very exciting, this team has created fresh recycle bins fit together to create a mountainscape. Acrylic at the bottom, visitors can easily discern how to separate their recyclables. Paw prints on the floor lead to the bins, and the top is a bear paw shape. The bins feature a large hinged door on the side, for easy access when they are full.

Megan Haag, Morana Lundquist, Raegin Ross, Jeraldy Romero-Garcia: STREAM

STREAM stands for Science, Technology, Recycling, Engineering, Art, Math

This project features a “hanging” stream consisting of colored plastic bottles and an oversized fish (or several) made of wire and coated with scales created from recycled cans. This is a temporary (and moveable) recycling sculpture that calls attention to the amount recycled daily in the park. The team pictures the overhanging stream will reside temporarily outside the windows at the Craig Thomas Visitor Center, and fish inside (and within the bottle river) to lead visitors to the recycle artwork. Messaging will accompany.

John Berner, Garrison Fadala: Drive Through Recycling Bin

This team surmises that it is inconvenient for people who are driving to recycle – they tend to throw it all into the trash. Using existing bins with multiple windows for recycling, the team created ramps alongside, to get cars up to where they can drop off recycled good. The ramps are foldable metal/wood so the park can move both ramps and the recycle bins anywhere in the park (a pullout, for example).

Sam Klyn and Alex Andrikopolous: Bottle Cap Pinball

Originally thinking of shooting bottle caps like a pinball machine (because you can’t recycle bottle caps), the team created a large pinball-like structure from wood and acrylic. There is a silhouette of the Tetons and laser maps on the machine. A visitor drops a cap into the machine and uses flippers to shoot the caps around inside. Bottle caps can be collected. The large door on the side makes collection easy for park staff, and provides storage.

Images available upon request
Carrie Geraci / Jackson Hole Public Art | 307-413-1474 |

Keywords: Environment | Education | Grand Teton National Park | JACKSON HOLE HIGH SCHOOL’S FABRICATION LAB | Jackson Hole | Jackson Hole Public Art | STEAM | STEM | Zero Landfill Project | subaru

CAMPAIGN: Subaru's Love Promise: Environment

CONTENT: Press Release