Students and teachers at MacIntyre Park Middle School and the Scholars Academy are teaming up to make recycling convenient and a habit for everyone on campus.
Every day, the average American throws away about 4.5 pounds of trash. It may not seem like a lot, but when you add up how much trash the nation throws away, that’s about 250 million tons of waste annually. Only about 30 percent of that is recycled (http://www.cleanair.org/Waste/wasteFacts.html).
Scholars Academy Director Dr. Dale Graham is an advocate for recycling.
“We are accustomed to being a disposable society. We need to take care of what is around us. I want to be part of making a difference in the world. One part of the International Baccalaureate program is trying to look at things with a fresh pair of eyes. Instead of looking at a piece of trash and just thinking it’s trash, think of all the things you can do with it,” said Graham.
She presented a talk for the student body that had examples of all the innovative ideas people have made with what we call “trash.” The presentation consisted of bicycles, islands, homes, light fixtures, and much more that was all made from recyclable items.
MacIntyre Park Middle School is already making an effort to make the world a greener place. Rebecca Ramsey decided to use the Recycling Bowl Competition as an initiative for recycling. The competition is held by Keep Thomas County Beautiful, a non-profit organization, as a way to educate students about the necessity of recycling. This competition is held for one month, and during the month, schools compete to recycle the most goods and the winner receives a trophy for their recycling efforts.
Ramsey said, “Everything we can do to preserve nature and our resources is a must, as far as I’m concerned, and teaching our students to recycle and be conscious of their consumption promotes them as global citizens.”
Beyond the Recycling Bowl, Ramsey contacted the Thomasville’s Solid Waste Department and had them bring blue recycling bins to the campus. The teachers empty their classroom boxes into the bins, and on Wednesdays the students maneuver the bins for pick-up by the city.
Inspired by Ramsey’s efforts and plan, the Scholars Academy students in Susanne Boykins’s Current Events and Service Learning elective are now joining the same recycling routine as MPMS. The project is underway, and it will become customary for students to “rethink trash.”
The next time students have a recyclable item, instead of just taking the easy route and throwing it in the trash can, the organizers hope students will take those few extra seconds to make a difference, no matter how small it may seem. If one student sees another student doing it, it can easily become a chain reaction and everyone’s doing it. The more people joining it, the bigger of a difference it can make.
Graham said, “I hope this article can be the beginning of something. I hope it will give students the thought: Maybe I can be part of a movement that is worth doing and will affect me and those around me!”