During the month of January, Pleasant
Grove Elementary recycled 3,240 pounds of mixed paper, the equivalent of a stack of newspapers two and a half school buses long! The school was able to move from a very low recycling rate of 0.8 lbs. per student during the month of August 2009 to an astonishing 5.9 lbs. per student in January 2010. They surpassed other high performing schools like New Hope Middle School that reached 5.2 lbs. per student in November 2009, and Dawnville Elementary School that reached 5.0 lbs. per student in December 2009.
Pleasant Grove Elementary began recycling mixed paper with the Target Recycling program managed by the Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority (DWSWA) last year.
However, their numbers remained stagnant, under 1 lb. per student each month. It took some newfound enthusiasm and leadership from the principal, Mr. Richard Knox, and key staff members, like teacher Chris Harrison, to get the students and other staff motivated to participate in recycling.
What does it take to collect the equivalent of 21,600 cereal boxes in one month? An enthusiastic staff and student body that believes that recycling is good for the environment. Recycling bins in every room collect mixed paper and serve as daily reminders to recycle. Mixed paper includes newspaper, writing paper, office paper, magazines, junk mail, telephone books, cardboard, and even textbooks. For some schools, these paper products can make up over 40% of their waste.
On January 19th Recycling and Education staff from the DWSWA, Michael Foxx and Liz Swafford, visited the school council to discuss taking their program to the next level. They provided additional information for educational resources, mini-posters, and the infrastructure needed to begin a recycling program for plastic bottles. With the addition of plastics, the school’s recycling rate will continue to rise making Pleasant Grove Elementary one of the local leaders in school recycling.
Currently all public schools in the City of Dalton School District and the Whitfield County School District participate in the Target Recycling Program. During the month of January the schools collectively recycled the equivalent of a stack of newspapers 24 school buses long.
To take your school to the next level call Liz Swafford, Recycling and Education Program Coordinator for DWSWA, at 706-278-5001 or e-mail her firstname.lastname@example.org.