urban municipal recycling garbage collector truck loading waste and trash bin Students at Hampton High School in Hampton, Tennessee (not far from Knoxville) recently helped streamline the garbage process in their community.

Doing so not only made life easier for sanitation workers but it has saved Carter County thousands of dollars. 

Real-World Experience for High School Students 

As part of a very hands-on school project, students in Daniel Arnett’s architecture and engineering design classes made several improvements to the sanitation building on U.S. Highway 19-E. The project wrapped up at the end of October. 

In 2018, Benny Lyons, the director of Carter County’s Solid Waste Department, approached Arnett to ask for his help. The main issue with the sanitation system dealt with the flow of vehicles into the waste center. Traffic was flowing in in 2 or 3 directions when the industry standard is a single, one-way flow of waste.

Another issue was that the dumpsters’ walls were so high, the sanitation workers had a hard time lifting the garbage bags into the dumpsters.

Planning & Executing the Updates 

Students in Arnett’s class started with a visit to the waste treatment plant. Once there, they took measurements of the space and used them to draw up designs for new ideas for traffic flow. The new plan had the dumpsters located below the vehicle area, so they would have an easier time getting the garbage into them.

After Lyons submitted the drawings, the project was approved and things were underway! By going through a student project, instead of a professional firm, the project saved the taxpayers $10,000. And according to Lyons, some of the workers to put the plans in place didn’t know that students had done the plans.

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