FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

Team Sustainability Award

Sep 07, 2023 Written by Fiona Hanlon, FIRST Robotics Competition Team Experience Specialist & Paul Kline, IT Director of Dow




We’re so excited to announce that Dow is now the sponsor of the Team Sustainability Award!

We have updated the award to encompass two aspects of sustainability: team longevity and environmental consciousness. The revised award criteria celebrates how these two areas can work together to help teams have a long-term positive impact on both their community and the environment. You can check out the full award description and guidelines on the Awards based on Team Attributes webpage.

Check out this video where Paul Kline, FIRST® volunteer and IT Director at Dow, discusses our long-term partnership, how these award updates align with FIRST® Robotic Competition teams and Dow’s ambition, and what teams could consider doing.



We also worked with Dow to generate a list of resources to help teams get started as they think about how to incorporate environmental sustainability into their team:

  • INtersections- Explore Dow’s latest Progress Report to see how the Company is accelerating efforts to achieve its ambition and create a more sustainable, inclusive future.
  • Circular Movement Platform – Platform focused on education about Circular Economy with Dow as its founding partner. Includes several contents about the theme and educational activities for a wide range of audiences.
    • Circular Academy Course – Developed by Circular Movement, a free online and on-demand course on Circular Economy. Available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, it includes a certificate of completion for all participants. 
  • Battery Recycling - Experience shows that most FIRST Robotics Competition batteries lose their competitive edge after 1-2 seasons depending on how many matches the robot runs and how much current the robot draws. You may decide to keep some of the older batteries around for things like driver practice, outreach events, etc. but at some point, the batteries will need to be recycled.
    • Many battery stores will take back old batteries, and if they don’t, they typically can direct you to local recycling facilities that will take them.
  • Metal Recycling – Many teams use metal on their robots or for prototyping parts or various other things around the shop. After a season, teams may look to clean up their shop and get rid of materials. We recommend looking through all metal pieces to see what you may be able to use again and recycle pieces that are not reusable. Most places will pay you for your scrap metal but it’s important to sort your metal into different types as some materials (such as iron and steel) are more valuable than others.
    • Check out Earth 911 or similar websites to find out more information on recycling metal and find a location near you.
  • Carbon Footprint – have you ever stopped to think how much carbon emissions your team activities can generate? A great way to start thinking about those and how to reduce them is to calculate a carbon footprint. There are several free online tools such as this carbon footprint calculator that can help.

There are so many more opportunities to incorporate environmental sustainability into your team and we cannot wait to hear what amazing ideas our teams come up with!

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