SYRACUSE — A group of sixth-graders at Wawasee Middle School are learning about recycling and gaining an appreciation for what the custodial staff deals with on a daily basis.
Recycling Warriors is a program now in its second school year. It started when teachers and staff were looking for ways to branch out during Warrior Time and either benefit or connect with the community more. Heather Griffith, a teacher who manages the program, credits the students with starting the recycling program.
“They (students) were looking around for recycling bins and didn’t see we had a recycling program for the school, and they asked ‘why not here?’” Griffith said.
Griffith started doing recycling in her own classroom and from there it grew. Now her sixth-grade students, plus three seventh-graders who did recycling last year, during Warrior Time empty black totes that have been placed in each room in the building for the purpose of collecting recyclable materials.
Previously there were three large bins used by the school but since the recycling program has started, the one used for cardboard only has been eliminated because everything can be placed in the same bin now. Griffith noted teachers and staff appreciate not having to take the time to separate recyclable materials.
Students are learning what can be recycled and it has helped them to keep their school cleaner. “They will see stuff in the hall and I’ve seen them pick it up and put it in a bin,” she said. And they are gaining more respect for what the custodial staff does at the school, she added.
In addition, there is a recycling partnership with Polywood that will expire at the end of February. Milk jugs are being collected and placed in containers for each of the three grades at the school. For every 1,200 jugs collected Polywood will provide a bench to the school.
“So far we have two (benches) and we are hoping for a third by the end of February,” Griffith said.
The sixth grade won a school wide competition by collecting the most milk jugs and will get to tour Polywood and see a bench being made later in the school year.
Griffith said North Webster Elementary is hoping to begin a similar recycling program.