When it comes to knowing what items go in the recycling or other bins, it can be hard. The rules always seem to be changing and there are always exceptions. Mixing waste in the wrong disposal bins can contaminate batches of recycling or compost. This fall, the Earth Task Force tried to find a creative way to teach students where to put their waste items. The Earth Task Force (ETF) is a Cottonwood Institute-supported program at New Vista High School (NVHS) in Boulder, CO. ETF is designed to give students an opportunity to take the lead to implement sustainability initiatives at their school and in their community.
In order to help students learn the correct place to dispose of their waste, the ETF created the Recycle Relay, with a little help from Eco-cycle. For its fifth year running, students at NVHS lined up to test their recycling skills. The Recycle Relay is a relay style race where student teams compete to dispose of 35 different waste containers as accurately as possible. Items range from things as simple as an aluminium can to items such as a plastic take-out food container and juice boxes. The students learn beforehand which items go in which bin and what to keep in mind when throwing them out.
This year competitors were as eager as ever for the race to begin. When “GO” was called, students sprinted across the gym to deposit their items in either the trash, the compost, or the recycling. Teams were working together to decide where each item went. After the race ETF members joined each team to discuss the placement of waste items. Items in the wrong bin were explained so the students could learn from their mistakes. The event was exciting for everyone and ended positively with each student gaining a further understanding of which bins are appropriate for each item.
If you are interested in learning more about recycling or composting go to www.ecocycle.org.
Article written by ETF student Allison Bell.