Walkerton Elementary is not just a great place to learn. It’s a great place to learn about recycling. Last week we told you about the benches made of plastic bottle caps. Another great recycling program at the school is juice pouch recycling. I’m sure you can imagine they go through a lot of those here.
Janine Zoellner is a Teacher’s Aid at the school, and heads up the Student Recyclers Program.
“We collect Capri sun drink pouches here. And there is a company called Terracycle which will clean them up and make them into new products. Backpacks, school boxes, lunch bags, little tote containers. And they not only take the name brand Capri Sun but other brands like Kool Aid or any of the little mylar pouches. And we collect them all from the lunch room and whatever the students bring in and send them off to them, and we get a small amount of money back from each one that we send.”
Terracycle will take a wide variety of products that most of us would probably throw away. You sign up to recycle certain materials, many at no cost or free shipping, and you can earn cash rewards for the school or charity of your choice. Or you can choose a charity gift such as providing meals, or fresh water, gifting farm animals, or planting trees in endangered areas.
But wait….there’s more…Janine tells us about their electronics recycling:
“We also collect small electronics like old cell phones or old digital cameras, ink jet cartridges, and there is a company called Funding Factory that will take all of those and recycle them, deal with the toxic chemicals that are in them, and again, keep the toxic things from the landfills or from the waste stream. We get a kick back from that, not a whole lot, but it’s good just knowing that it’s being properly dealt with."
For Janine, it’s not so much about the money, but the good they are doing by recycling.
“I think it’s just a matter of knowing the sheer volume of stuff that we throw out that ends up in a landfill. And these are usable materials, usable products that can be cleaned up, either re-used, melted down, made into new stuff to save our land and to save the resources that we all need.”
Janine is definitely setting a good example for all the students in the school, but especially for her student recyclers. Raygen Smith, one of of Janine’s recyclers, sums it up well:
“Basically we’re helping the world as we know it. Cause there’s already enough landfills, why make more? Just recycle.”