Morrow County, OHIO

Recycling Entrepreneurship Competition

Recycling Entrepreneurship Contest Winners

Mt. Gilead, OH, November 18, 2023: On November 18, 2023 two local high school students competed in the inaugural Recycling Entrepreneurship Competition, following a 7-month competitive period. It began in late April with announcements to help students prepare over the summer. At the beginning of the school year, hosts Kristin Ruth, Director of Morrow County Recycling and Angela Powell, Morrow County Development Coordinator, began visiting schools and talking with students about the potential to win up to $1,000. Students were tasked with creating an innovative product that utilizes the principles of reduce, reuse and recycle, coupled with a plan to turn their recycled product into a business. The goal of the competition was to promote recycling, environmentalism, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Ruth and Powell were inspired by local businessman, Chris Gabrelcik, who has had several successful business ventures, including Lubrication Specialties, Inc. (LSI) and Microwave Renewable Technologies (MRT). His latest business venture, MRT, features the “Tire Hog,” a machine that recycles 100% of a tire into gas, oil, and carbon black.


Taking the challenge head on was Trent Ferguson and Lily Melvin who stood before judges Tim Abraham (Morrow County Commissioner), Jamie Brucker (Morrow County Director of Operations), Faith Kunze (Mid-Ohio Sanitation and Recycling), and Kristin Ruth (Morrow County Recycling Director). Ferguson and Melvin presented their innovative projects using visual aids, which included their recycled products as well as a business plan for marketing and selling their products.

Trent Ferguson, representing Gilead Christian High School, won the $1,000 first place prize in the Morrow County Recycling Entrepreneurship Competition. He created fire starters out of dryer lint, a used dryer sheet, and strings found in the laundry. His product is made from 100 percent recycled materials. These eco-friendly fire starters burn for 7 minutes, and are great for campers and wood burning stoves.

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The second-place winner was Lily Melvin from The Tomorrow Center. Her project was recreating home décor art out of glass found throughout Morrow County. She even used glass found at The Tomorrow Center’s River Clean-up event in September of 2023. Her inspiration for her project was her grandmother. Lily received $500 for her project.

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The winning projects will be on display at Mt. Gilead High School through December 1, followed by an exhibition at Mt. Gilead Public Library until December 15. Afterwards, the projects will be making appearances at local schools, showcasing the students’ creativity and commitment to sustainability.


The event was sponsored by DKMM Solid Waste District. DKMM supplied a grant for winners. Congratulations to Trent and Lily for their outstanding upcycled innovations!                   

Coming Fall 2023 for Morrow County Residents ages 14-19
Recycling Entrepreneurship Competition
Enter to Win $1,000
1) Create a recycled product
2) Create a process to recycle a product
For more information, contact us:
Kristin Ruth, MoCo Recycling, at 419-946-6400
Angela Powell, Morrow County Development Office, at

Recycling Poster