Trio strives to keep middle school green

January 5, 2010

By Chantelle Lusebrink


By Chantelle Lusebrink Issaquah Middle School sixth-graders in Diana Rackers’ classroom practice accurately sorting their recyclables into various piles, as part of a schoolwide effort to reduce the amount of trash students throw away.

Issaquah Middle School sixth-graders in Diana Rackers’ classroom practice accurately sorting their recyclables into various piles, as part of a schoolwide effort to reduce the amount of trash students throw away. By Chantelle Lusebrink

“This recycling education program is different from past efforts, because it focuses on teaching small groups the correct recycling practices and it requires student interaction and participation,” teacher Michelle Pickard wrote in an e-mail. “This is more effective than simply showing student-made educational videos.”

Afterward, the girls go through a slide presentation that shows students exactly where their trash goes, what landfills look like and information about the Great Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch, which contains more than 1,700 miles of floating trash in the middle of the ocean.

“We wanted to do something other than a boring video,” Alissa said. “With the pictures, they can see what their garbage looks like.”

“Students are at a great stage in life, where they are making decisions about the kind of people they want to be,” teacher Diana Rackers wrote in an e-mail. “Information about recycling will help them to be better stewards of resources.”

“We are proud of our students, especially the girls that have taken the lead on this,” Vice Principal Seth Adams said. “They really feel they can do something and make a difference for our entire community.”

From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, household waste increases by more than 25 percent, according to research Pickard and the three girls have done.

Added food waste, shopping bags, packaging, wrapping paper, bows and ribbons — it all adds up to an additional 1 million tons per week to our landfills, they said.

“If we don’t act now, we’ll wake up one day and we’ll be living in the landfills,” Kaylee said.

Recycling for the holidays

By Michelle Pickard with Micah Bonkowski, Suzy Emerson, Kaylee Alvarado and Alissa Parker

In the U.S., annual trash from gift-wrap and shopping bags totals 4 million tons, according to www.recycleworks.org.

While disposing of holiday waste can be tricky, it can be done.

Trees

-Plant it: If you bought a live Christmas tree, plant it or donate it to a local school or nursing home.

-Cut trees: Remove all decorations including tinsel and lights before recycling. Trees can be set out for yard waste collection on your regular collection day, if they are cut to 4 feet or less. Trees with flocking or decorations will not be collected.

Electronics

4For residents, electronics recycling is available at the AtWork! recycling facility. Go to www.atworkwa.org.

4Residents with Waste Management service can recycle electronics at the curb with advance notice.

Donate

-Consider giving away your old appliances, toys, games or clothing to a local charity or thrift store.

-The “What do I do with…?” directory contains listings of hundreds of businesses and organizations in King County that accept unwanted items for reuse, recycling or proper disposal. Check it out at http://your.kingcounty.gov/solidwaste.

On the Web

Recycle Works

www.recycleworks.org

Holiday recycling

www.ciwmb.ca.gov/publiced/ Holidays

Chantelle Lusebrink: 392-6434, ext. 241, or clusebrink@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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