In mid-March, JMG received a piece of mail that was anticipated with great excitement. Inside that envelope was the key that would open the door for a revamped recycling program. Eighth graders, Joe Wing and Colby Willey, proudly showed the grant check from the Natural Resources Council of Maine. The $500 grant award was able to give the recycling program at China Middle School a brand-new look with the addition of 20 bright blue plastic containers.
The containers have been placed in all classrooms and near the photocopiers of the school. The bins have already made a positive impact, as many of the students have commented that the bins are easily recognizable and they are able to hold more paper than the previous boxes we were using. The boxes that were once being used, wrapped in colored paper, have all been broken down and recycled, replaced by the sturdier and larger bins. The last step of the process will be to add JMG and CMS logos to each of the containers.
Another positive aspect of the new containers is that it gives us the chance to help educate students on the importance of recycling. This project will allow students in the JMG program to utilize leadership opportunities to explain why we should all be recycling. Students plan to create informational flyers that will highlight the benefits of recycling. Students will also get the opportunity to speak to their peers and present them with the best practices of recycling both at school and at home that they have learned through participating in this project. Our ultimate goal is to make recycling a lifelong habit for everyone. We have also recently introduced a recycling program for markers through Crayola and have a receptacle to take back markers.
The final phase of the project will be working with the town of China to better understand the local recycling program and the positive impact the school’s recycling initiatives have on the environment and town. The plan is to invite a representative from the town of China to speak about the town’s recycling program and to get an idea about the monetary value the school is helping save the town through paper recycling efforts. Through the month of March, an average of approximately 30 pounds of paper was being recycled on a weekly basis at CMS. We look forward to sharing our findings in May. Until then, happy recycling!
—Ryan Sweeney, Jobs for Maine’s Graduates teacher, China Middle School