Pompano Beach, August 11, 2010 – In the coming weeks students throughout South Florida return to their schools, which are one of the most potentially productive, yet often-overlooked sources of recycling and conservation in any community. The late weeks of summer are an ideal time for educators, teachers, parents and students to start planning “green school” programs built around the concepts of reducing, reusing and recycling waste.
Every year, schools produce millions of tons of waste that can either be recycled or reused, from paper to discarded cafeteria food. However, The George Lucas Educational Foundation’s Edutopia Web site’s poll reveals that 74 percent of the 118 schools that participated in its online poll have either limited recycling programs or none at all.
“Every school should have recycling programs for office paper, classroom paper, aluminum cans and plastic water and sport drinks,” said Dawn McCormick, Community Affairs Manager for Waste Management of South Florida. “Office and classroom paper recycling can be as easy as equipping every classroom with a receptacle for used paper that’s collected separately from other garbage. Recycling aluminum cans and plastic water and sports drink bottles in the cafeteria requires only a small effort and is already done in thousands of schools across the country. Once the kids get into the spirit it takes on a life of its own.”
Teachers can also prepare environmentally themed classroom projects utilizing the many resources on the Web covering everything from recycling to reducing consumption to buying products made of recycled materials. DoSomeThing.org provides a step-by-step plan for starting a school-wide recycling program that describes all of the internal and external issues a recycling committee would have to consider to start recycling. Its related site, earth911.org, gets into fun, innovative conservation programs, like how to travel to a prom green style.
Waste Management offers http://www.ThinkGreen.com/classroom, a K-12 resource in partnership with Discovery Education. Complete with standards-based lesson plans, compelling videos, interactive activities and Think Green® Resources to engage students and extend the learning to the home, http://www.ThinkGreen.com/classroom is a powerful suite of tools for educators seeking new materials to enliven environmental lessons. Teachers of children grades K-5 will find resources that will help them answer almost any question about the Three Rs of reducing, reusing and recycling.
Parents can help schools achieve their recycling goals by reducing the amount of consumables that children bring to school in their lunch boxes and by buying environmentally friendly school supplies. For example, kids who bring their own lunch can cut waste by:
• Packing lunches in washable, reusable bags instead of disposable bags and bringing water in refillable bottles. If parents are worried about losing refillable bottles, buy one with a cap that can be clipped to a lunch bag;
• Using whole fruits and vegetables as snacks, rather than packaged items; and
• Replacing sandwich bags with reusable sandwich-sized containers.
“There’s a lot of home-based common sense that can make a big difference in schools’ environmental footprints,” said McCormick. “Between home and school, we have an opportunity to create a generation that sees conservation and recycling as a routine part of every day, which is just what it should be.”
About Waste Management
Waste Management, based in Houston, Texas, is the leading provider of comprehensive waste management services in North America. Our subsidiaries provide collection, transfer, recycling and resource recovery, and disposal services. We are also a leading developer, operator and owner of waste-to-energy facilities in the United States. Our customers include residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal customers throughout North America. To learn more visit http://www.wm.com or http://www.thinkgreen.com.
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