Recycling might not be the first thing people think of when they hear about the National Security Agency, but the spy agency wants to change that.
The Fort Meade, Md., institution has a new pro-recycling mascot named “Dunk” that it’s using as part of an effort to get students in Maryland schools to cut down on their trash.
In a new eight-minute video released ahead of Wednesday's Earth Day, Dunk — a blue, anthropomorphized recycling bin — explained the NSA’s commitment to recycling. Then, it offered students a project of their own.
“To keep as much material out of local landfills as possible, NSA has operated recycling programs for decades,” Dunk says in the video, noting that the agency recycles about 13 million pounds of garbage every year.
The video urges school students to perform a “waste audit” by analyzing trash to find how much can be recycled instead of sent to a landfill. Then, they should come up with ways to reduce the amount of trash, such as using reusable plastic bottles or lunch bags.
“When you see firsthand the trash that is generated in your school, we hope you’ll become more interested in reducing waste both at school and at home,” the mascot said.
“After all, you’re the future generation of this planet, so we need to keep it green for you and for all future generations.”
Dunk is not the only mascot the NSA has used in the past.
As part of the agency’s CryptoKids outreach — which seeks to get children interested in codebreaking, it has more than a half-dozen cartoon characters including Decipher Dog, Crypto Cat and Rosetta Stone — a language analyst fox.