The Rewards of Recycling

Wee_RecycleBy Barbara Gruener

Ah, springtime, the season of rebirth; the perfect time to do some spring cleaning and recycle or repurpose some of your stuff. Here at Westwood-Bales Elementary School, we’re finding out that even our littlest leaders are eager to show citizenship by reducing, reusing and recycling.

Did you know that crayons contain a petroleum-based product that shouldn’t be going into our landfills? Alyssa Dillon’s kindergarten class is leading the charge to recycle our used crayons. They’ve made posters and placed collection bins around school. Before boxing them and sending the crayons off, students can sort them by color, arrange them by height, and/or weigh them to track their donations on a graph. We’ve secured grant money to pay for the postage and handling. The National Crayon Recycle Program creates a win-win situation, because they employ adults with developmental disabilities to repurpose them into Crazy Crayons. Send your unwanted crayons to: CRAYON RECYCLING  16612 Minnetonka Blvd. Minnetonka, MN  55345

In first grade, Margaret Limmer’s students have joined the Drink Pouch Brigade by collecting and cleaning empty juice pouches. Not only does it allow them the chance to earn a penny a piece, but this recycling effort also keeps these pouches from heading to a landfill. Students sort the pouches and bind them in packages of five, then ten as they learn to count by fives and tens. If they save more than 5,000 of them from their landfill fate, the price per pouch increases to three cents each. Proceeds will go to a community church for a playground project they’re planning. For more information, visit the Kraft Brands Be Green Earn Green website.

We_recycle_2Our second graders just finished a unit on being eco-friendly, which culminated with a repurposing project with finished products now on display in our library just in time for Open House. I took a gallery walk and saw a gallon jug now being used as a piggy bank, a plastic bag that’s now a trash-can liner, a plastic water bottle that now serves as a bird feeder and an egg carton that easily doubles as a jewelry box. I wonder what you might find in your garbage that you could repurpose instead?

Finally, our third-grade Green Team sweeps through the school every Friday afternoon to empty the small blue recycling bins that are in every classroom and office area. They respectfully come into our rooms and diligently take the paper products from the individuals bins to the big recycle bins in the commons. On the occasion when my bin is not very full, they’ll inevitably give me a word of caution to please remember to recycle even small scraps of paper and cardboard instead of throwing them away.

How are you encouraging conservation with your school family?


Check out more of Barbara Gruener’s work at her blog.

2 thoughts on “The Rewards of Recycling”

  1. Great resource to recycle crayons. I wonder if restaurants know about this. There are so many left on tables after they occupy the children. Also love the repurposing projects.

  2. In Honduras we welcome used crayons. Most school have lock of them. Look for brigades groups to send them along or send them to Georgetown School
    Barrio El carmen, Jesus de Otoro, Intibuca. Honduras, C.A

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