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Recycling has become tons of fun at schools

By DARREL RADFORD - dradford@thecouriertimes.com

Second of two parts

As the Henry County Solid Waste Management District helps educate students about the power of recycling, local schools are doing their part to be positive examples and turn those lessons into action.

During her review of the 2018 HCSWMD annual report, Executive Director JoAnne McCorkle talked about the effort she and assistant Brenda Bockover have made in reaching out to students. She also offered statistics about recyclable collections at 11 schools in the county.

From unique journals and hats made from newspapers to creative “solar ovens,” “edible landfills” and “environmental bingo,” the district is employing fun approaches in teaching kids the value of recycling.

McCorkle described each at last week’s meeting:

• Solar ovens – “We used graduated sizes of black construction paper and a cover made with heavy clear plastic,” she said. “We provide the ingredients to make S’mores which are placed in the constructed ovens and set outside in the sun. This activity focuses on recycling and the use of alternative energy sources.”

• Edible landfills – “This hands-on program allows students to participate in building a ‘sanitary landfill’ using graham crackers, cookies, candy and cereal, which represent different layers that go into construction of a landfill. We have sample pieces of landfill liner for students to handle and test its strength. We discuss the need for reducing what trash we generate and the need for reusing and recycling.”

• Environmental BINGO – “A unique BINGO card featuring different environmental symbols in each square is provided,” McCorkle said. “We use assorted container caps (shampoo, milk, juice, and drink caps) as markers. Pertinent questions were developed concerning our environment along with questions specific to Henry County that allows students to answer correctly and mark their BINGO cards.”

As students learn, recycling containers outside their schools help the environment daily. McCorkle reported 151.53 tons of materials were collected in 2018 at 11 different school facilities.

The most collected came at Westwood Elementary School, where 35.83 tons of recyclables were collected. Not far behind was Riley Elementary at 31.32 tons.

Other schools involved in the effort included First Baptist Church Preschool, 17.83 tons; Knightstown schools, 15.90 tons; Wilbur Wright Elementary School, 12.98 tons; and Parker Elementary School, 10.28 tons.

Also collecting were New Castle Middle School, 6.64 tons; Tri High, 6.53 tons; Eastwood Elementary School, 5.57 tons; Sunnyside Elementary School, 5.19 tons; and Agape Learning Center, 3.46 tons.