Target Recycling at School is a recycling collection program and environmental education program offered to local schools by the Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority. During the 2015 – 2016 school year over 30 local schools participated in the program which mainly facilitates mixed paper and cardboard recycling on school grounds. Collection containers painted yellow and green with a picture of mascot Recycling Ben are the most common among the schools.
Each school year a contest is held over a six-month period to encourage schools to recycle. Schools competed in one of three categories: Elementary Schools, Middle Schools, and High Schools. Each category has a first, second and third place winner. Schools are compared by recycling rate which is calculated by dividing the number of students by the weight of recyclables collected. The previous contest ran from November 2016 to April 2016.
During this last contest, 35 participating schools collected 387,310 pounds of recyclable materials, mostly paper, for an average of 17.4 pounds recycled per student. That’s the weight equivalent of about 111 mid-sized cars or 32 average sized African elephants. While the grand total recycled for the year was 705,386 pounds, only the six-month total is considered when awarding prizes.
The top schools for 2015 – 2016 in the Elementary School category are Pleasant Grove with first place, Learning Tree School with second place, and Dug Gap Elementary in third place. For Middle Schools, the winners are New Hope Middle in first place, North Whitfield Middle in second place, and Westside Middle in third. The High School category saw a three-way tie for first place since the schools had the same recycling rate. The winners are Southeast High School, North West High School, and Dalton High School.
As the new school year begins teachers and staff are reminded that Target Recycling at School facilitates recycling by providing an outdoor container to collect paper for recycling. About once a week, or as needed, the container is weighed and emptied by the recycling truck. A monthly report is provided to school representatives who are on the e-mail mailing list for the program. You can register for the list here: http://eepurl.com/YEEM or call 706-278-5001.
The material in the bin makes its way to the recycling center in Whitfield County where it’s sorted and baled. Once the paper is in a bale form, it’s sent with other bales to paper mills in Georgia that will make new paper products with old paper. Your student’s worksheets and homework may one day soon be remade into part of a new cereal box, napkin, or other paper product.
Even though recycling collection is provided, it’s up to each individual school to decide how to manage recycling collection inside. To make a recycling program really successful, there has to be a person in the school responsible for running the program during the whole school year. Usually, this is the teacher or staff person that leads the school’s green team or earth club. Schools that have gone above and beyond the minimal recycling requirements have done so because the recycling program is part of the culture of the school.
To get your school’s recycling program off to a great start, and ready for the beginning of this year’s school’s recycling contest, visit the Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority’s Target Recycling at School page at www.dwswa.org/target-recycling-at-school. There you’ll find the school recycling contest guide for 2016 – 2017, and a free download of the booklet “Catch the Cycle” a guide to establishing a school recycling program.
Establishing and maintaining the recycling program in your school can be very rewarding. You will help establish community norms, teach individual responsibility and environmental stewardship, give participants a hands-on learning experience and make a difference in reducing the amount of waste produced at the school. Recycling is an all-inclusive activity that the whole school can rally around all year long.
A complimentary environmental education program provided by Target Recycling at School further supports school recycling programs. Local schools can request a class visit for an informative recycling presentation, or any number of educational activities related to the environment. They can even request an appearance by mascot Recycling Ben. One of the popular services in an onsite tour of the recycling center and landfill. For more information on the educational opportunities call 706-278-5001 or visit www.dwswa.org and click on Education.