Environmental Education, MBS Students’ Recycling Efforts, and How You Can Help!

“It is good to realize that if love and peace can prevail on earth, and if we can teach our children to honor nature’s gifts, the joys and beauties of the outdoors will be here forever.”
—Jimmy Carter

Students at Malletts Bay School are stepping up their efforts to not only learn more about conservation and recycling but also to implement proactive conservation programs into their school and their lives.

And this is hugely important. While the paramountcy of conservation efforts and environmental sustainability are widely understood, incorporating those concepts into our academic environment is a fantastic way to promote a variety of benefits to our students. Becoming actively involved in facing real-world challenges encourages our students to become connected with their community and to become real-world problem solvers. They learn to work collaboratively with their peers to make quantifiable differences through careful consideration and innovative thinking. And that’s just scratching the surface.

Recently, Chittenden Solid Waste District’s (CSWD’s) Jess Sankey spoke with approximately eighty MBS Ospreys about waste management and conservation issues. The students began strategizing their goal for the recycling project, which they formally kicked off on November 15 to coincide with America Recycles Day.

Chittenden Solid Waste District's Jess Sankey talks with MBS students

The student recycling team consists of representatives from all three houses. Team members prepared for the program by learning about recycling initiatives and creating various advertising campaigns, including writing and performing a puppet show, creating and casting themselves in a commercial in which they wore self-made costumes, and making school-wide announcements, and the group members willingly participated in the planning meetings during their recesses.

The students were pleased to report that there had already been a significant reduction in the amount of trash collected just one day after the program kickoff—so they are very much encouraged by the early results of their efforts.

CSWD offers a number of opportunities to expand recycling and conservation efforts in area communities. Their staff meets with towns and organizations to help plan events—such as showings of the films Dirt! The Movie and The Story of Stuff; free, zero-waste events like potluck dinners, recycling relays, raffles; and other films and events—that educate and inspire waste reduction. CSWD also partners with local groups, tailoring waste and energy reduction events to suit the groups’ goals, and it also has grant funds available to promote waste reduction initiatives in member municipalities. (For more information about opportunities to partner with CSWD to promote waste reduction in your community, please contact CSWD using this contact form, or call 872-8111. See CSWD’s communities and municipalities webpage for more information.)

And Malletts Bay School has other recycling initiatives in place, too. Under the direction and leadership of technology assistant Shirley Sebo, MBS recycles ink jet and laser printer cartridges, as well as small electronics like cell phones and MP3 players through a fabulous program called FundingFactory. By partnering with FundingFactory, MBS simply collects the recyclable materials and ships them via UPS using prepaid shipping labels. (That’s right—prepaid.) Many of the recycled materials can be refurbished, and those that can generate revenue—either in the form of cash or as reward points that are redeemable for education-related materials through FundingFactory’s catalog. This is an all-around win-win; it further encourages students and our community members to recycle, it allows us to reduce technology-related clutter, it allows usable materials to be redistributed, and it generates a bit of revenue that is then used to increase MBS’s access to technology.

And the community can get involved! MBS hopes to collect these materials from local businesses and households. Please click here for a list of items that qualify for the program. More recyclable material translates into more revenue … which translates into even greater access to technology for our students! For more information, please visit Malletts Bay School’s website or call (802) 264-5900.

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