Students at Northwest Elementary School in Carey Johnson’s third grade classroom have been learning hands-on what it means to recycle and cut back waste for over eight years.
But with the new recycling bins provided by the Lawrence-Scioto Solid Waste Management District (SWMD), the program has become a school-wide initiative.
The program was conceptualized by Johnson. “When we started out, I sent out an email and asked the other teachers if they’d be interested in recycling. After I found out which classrooms wanted to recycle, I assigned a classroom to my students and each week they would go and collect the recycling,” said Johnson.
Prior to receiving recycling bins, recycling was not a school-wide program, it was based on voluntary participation. The classrooms did not have recycling bins, so the students and the teachers were using copy boxes to collect recyclable materials.
“I had made contact with a few of the teachers at the end of last school year, and talked about helping them implement a program that would be a little more efficient with all matching containers, making everything uniform so that the students would get in the habit of recycling when they see those blue containers,” said SWMD Community Outreach and Education Coordinator, Stephanie Helms.
Now, all classrooms are equipped with proper recycling containers as well as the common shared spaces, like the gym and cafeteria. All together, over 75 containers were provided to the school.
“Every classroom is now recycling, and it’s just to much for one classroom to collect the recycling for the whole school,” explained Johnson. “With the help of some other teachers and their classrooms, we’ve divided the work between three classrooms to make it manageable. The kids have always loved the program, every year.”
The Lawrence-Scioto Solid Waste Management District also offers classroom presentations about recycling and litter prevention. If interested, please contact Stephanie Helms at 740-532-1231.
“Right now we’ve helped about 65% of the schools in Scioto County to implement recycling programs,” explained Helms. “We’re moving in the right direction. It’s just a matter of getting everyone on board, and help to change the thought process about recycling for the generation coming up.”
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977, Facebook “Ciara Conley - Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.