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Two elementary school students pitch recycling idea to council
Kayden Sell and Walker Allinson
Kelly Mill Elementary School students Kayden Sell and Walker Allinson, both 7, pitched their recycling bin idea to the Cumming City Council on April 17. - photo by For the FCN

You don’t have to be a grown-up to make a big impact on the local community.

Kayden Sell and Walker Allinson, both 7, are first graders at Kelly Mill Elementary School and want to see new recycling bins of their own design, first in Forsyth County, then in other places. 

“Why we invented this is because Cumming needs recycling bins, because if they don’t, all the recycling materials will go into the landfills,” Kayden said. “And landfills could be all over the earth soon.”

Kayden Sell and Walker Allinson,
Kayden Sell talks to the Cumming City Council on Tuesday about her recycling bin design she and another student created.
Their project is a solar-powered recycling bin for aluminum cans and plastic bottles. The cans can be flattened with a can crusher on one side, and the plastic will be shredded within the machine. 

“Plastic bottles get ground up to bits and cans get smushed and melted,” Walker said. 

Once in the recycling bins, the cans and bottles can be used for other purposes. 

“Plastic gets made into things like carpet and cups,” Kayden said. “Aluminum cans get made into things such as playground equipment, benches and car pieces.”

Recently, the pair won the K-2 division of the InVenture Challenge at Georgia Tech, an invention competition for their work.

“They started off with just a little prototype, then they decided since they were going to Georgia Tech to make it a little bit bigger, a little bit better,” said teacher Laura Fedorchuk. “So, they changed it and did some research on what happens to aluminum cans, what happens to plastic when it’s recycled, so then that’s when they got the idea to put the smusher and chipper into the actual can.”

Teacher Stephanie Sumner said it’s important to teach kids early on that they have the ability to change things. 

“These are young kids,” she said. “If you can start letting them know you can actually change something in the world and they have power and if they see a problem they actually could solve it, that’s what we’re trying to do as teachers.”

The two had a chance to pitch their idea to Mayor Troy Brumbalow and the Cumming City Council on Tuesday. 

“Our goal is to start off at downtown Cumming, then go to the whole county, then go all the way to the whole state of Georgia,” Kayden said.

Walker said he wants to see the bins along the Big Creek Greenway and in local parks.

“On the trails, people are holding water bottles, and they need to recycle it, but there’s no recycling bin,” he said.

The two had different reactions when asked how it felt presenting to the council.

“I was kind of nervous, but [it was] really fun,” Kayden said.

“Awesome,” Walker said.