Sunday, March 27, 2011

CAPCO had Successful NSTA Conference!

The 2011 National Science Teacher’s Association (NSTA) Conference just took place in San Francisco where CAPCO volunteers successfully communicated three key messages to an estimated 1,400 people.

In preparation for the conference, CAPCO produced a full-color handout that stressed 3 messages:

  1. Technology: Aerosol technology is a great way to teach several basic scientific principles.
  2. Environment: Aerosol products haven’t had CFCs for over 30 years.
  3. Recycling: Empty Aerosol cans are recyclable.

It also highlighted all of the resources that we have available for teachers including; a newly updated website, an updated Teacher’s Kit with 10 lessons and 5 experiments, an interactive learning website and our educational videos. In addition, CAPCO collaborated with the Steel Recycling Institute (SRI) to develop a handout with information and facts on recycling empty consumer aerosol cans.

CAPCO’s presence at the conference was met with either:

  • Confusion: “Why are you here?” or “So…these are bad aerosols, right?”
  • Intrigue: “Wow, I recycle and I didn’t know that aerosol cans could be recycled.”
  • Gratitude: “Thanks for being here, I try to communicate that aerosols no longer harm the ozone in my classroom year after year and students still come in believing that they do!”

Of course, we would not have received the booth traffic that we did without the 3000+ products that were donated from industry supporters. The product giveaways included WD-40 (3oz travel size and No-Mess Pen), Sprayway (4oz Glass Cleaner), Energizer (Skintimate shave gel), BP Blaster (Garage Door Lubricant and multi-purpose lubricant), United Industries (Cutter Insect Repellant) and assorted aerosol products from Chase. In addition to the product donations, several people also donated their time by volunteering at the CAPCO booth: John Blum (Ball Corporation), Casper Chiang (Clorox Company), and Don and Sharon Rowen from Industrial Hydrocarbons.

After engaging with several teachers and educators we were able to gather some valuable feedback and come up with some great ideas for how we may improve the resources that CAPCO currently offers to teachers and students. In addition, many teachers are in the process of “greening” their classrooms and schools, so there are also opportunities to help teachers to develop a lesson plan that encouraged their students to reach out to their local municipalities and trash haulers to urge them to accept aerosol cans for recycling in their communities. This would be a helpful tool and a great Earth Day activity.

Overall, it was a successful conference, but there is still much work to be done! Many of the teachers we spoke to still believed that some or all of aerosol products contained CFCs, demonstrating that it is important for CAPCO to continue on its mission to educate teachers, consumers and the media on the facts and benefits of aerosol products.

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