Students lead recycling project at Iowa school
FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) – Before Marsha Halbach’s fifth- and sixth-grade class started its own recycling program at Community Christian School, teachers weren’t quite sure to do with all of their paper, according to Tyson Nelson, 11, a sixth-grader at the school.
“Sometimes teachers said, ‘What do I do with all this paper on my desk?’ and they used to take it to the trash bin,” Nelson said. “But now they can take it to the recycling bin.”
That’s because fifth- and sixth-graders in Halbach’s class have set up a recycling box in all of the classrooms at the school, including the art, music and preschool rooms, according to Cole Seehusen, 12, a sixth-grader.
Seehusen is the recycling coordinator for the student-led project.
Alexa McHone, 11, a fifth-grader, put her creativity skills to use when making the boxes.
“We learned a lot about recycling,” she said. “It was really fun decorating the boxes.”
Seehusen said every week the students collect the paper and weigh it.
The students retrieve the boxes Thursdays at 1:30 p.m., the Messenger reported .
“Every class is doing something at that time, so we are able to come in without interrupting,” Seehusen said.
Halbach said the kindergartners are some of the best customers, providing plenty of paper to be recycled.
One of the benefits in collecting the paper is to save trees, Seehusen said.
According to Halbach, every 1,000 pounds of paper equals eight trees saved.
“So far we have saved about four trees,” she said. “Our goal is to save at least eight trees by the end of the year.”
Nelson said he enjoys getting out of regular classwork – at least for a little while.
“We kind of get to skip class while we pick up the trash,” Nelson said.
Seehusen said the paper that’s collected can’t be crumpled up.
“It can be colored paper,” he said. “But it can’t be fully crumpled up or dirty or wet.”
The class also accepts cardboard, according to Leon Cook, 12, a sixth-grader.
“We just put it in a separate bag,” Cook said.
Seehusen said the class makes sure the recyclables are put out on the curb before 8:15 a.m. every Friday.
Levi Odor-Westrum, 11, a fifth-grader, said the project has brought the class together.
“We thought it would be fun and help us bond more as a class,” he said. “For the recycling, we can help the planet come together more, too.”
He added, “We want to help replace trees that have been taken away.”
Abby Cook, 12, a sixth-grader, agreed.
“I think it’s cool that as a class we can all save trees together,” she said.
Brooke Evans, 11, a fifth-grader, said it’s a chance for the class to be leaders.
“I think it’s nice we can set an example for other classes and do it together,” she said.
Halbach said the class plans to tour the recycling center in Fort Dodge this spring.
“That way students can see what they do with our paper,” she said.
The class also plans to plant trees at Riverside Trees near Duncombe in the future.
Halbach said next year the recycling program may expand to plastics.