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School implements recycling program

A recent collaboration between Junaluska Elementary fifth graders, Haywood Community College students and Haywood County Solid Waste and Recycling will keep about 90,000 juice and milk cartons out of the county landfill each school year.

The project began last summer when HCC’s environmental science students and Environmental Leadership Club invited the county’s recycling coordinator, Zondra Kuykendall, to teach them about local recycling.

HCC’s students used a students-teaching-students model to connect with the younger students and gain hands-on learning beyond the classroom.

For the first training in February, HCC students used games such as “chasing arrows” and “wish-cycling” to share details about recycling contamination. One HCC student dressed up as a “bag monster” made from plastic shopping bags to illustrate how many bags the average U.S. family uses each year. During the second training in May, students designed recycling art to advertise the new program.

The recycling program will continue next year. 

“Recycling a few milk cartons and juice boxes seems like such a small thing,” said Roberts. “Junaluska Elementary students drink an average 325 cartons of milk and 180 boxes of juice at breakfast and lunch, which means more than 500 milk and juice containers can be recycled per day, 2,500 per week, and about 90,000 per school year.” 

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