Recycling Program Rounds Up Support in Schools
By Lynne Greene, Cloud City Conservation Center
The Lake County School District (LCSD) is supporting recycling in every school this fall. For the first time schools have an organized pick-up schedule, and the recycling infrastructure, staff and student support to accomplish recycling goals. What is that goal? 30% waste diversion, meaning 30% of all material discarded will be recycled during the school year.
Todd Coffin, Operations and Maintenance Director recently retro-fitted a ‘recycling bus’ in order to carry the eight, 55-gallon bins that each school fills weekly. Recyclables are delivered to the county recycling center where they are processed and sent to mills across the country to be remade into goods.
“We just bought a scale to make measurement easier,” said Coffin. Cloud City Conservation Center (C4), which is supporting the effort, estimates over 30,000 pounds of recyclables will be produced this year.
Even better, students and teachers are participating in the recycling collection and sorting efforts. Each school has worked out a system for collection and education. In most cases this means a green team of student and teacher volunteers that collect, sort and measures recyclables in each classroom.
It was a team effort. In previous years, without a formal pick-up service, teacher and staff were left to haul away spotty recyclables in their personal vehicles. Not the best process, but it was a start
This year, LSCD Superintendent Wendy Wyman along with the school principals made an extra commitment to the program, making recycling happen in a consistent, effective and institutionalized manner.
C4 received several grants to help with this effort, which allowed them to give $2,000.00 in stipends to schools for recycling bins and larger collection containers. The Cooper Environment Foundation and the Summit Foundation were key supporters of the effort.
C4 is also supporting green teams and workshops in each classroom. Raising student awareness is important to the effort. Waste Warrior workshops are either taught by C4’s new recycling intern Tim Kendzia, or six High Mountain Institute students who have been trained as instructors. Last week the HMI Waste Warriors taught half hour workshops for all Kindergarten classes. Students play sorting games and learn the lifecycle of ‘the big five’: plastic, aluminum, glass, paper and cardboard.