By Sue Moore
Vicksburg Middle School teachers have been taking empty plastic bottles and waste paper home to recycle because their building wasn’t equipped with a recycling station. JoEllen Pollack, science instructor, couldn’t tolerate this any longer. She wrote a grant application to Midwest Electric & Communications for funds to purchase recycling bins. She was rewarded for her efforts with a check for $800 from the corporation last month. The company had 120 grant requests and awarded 31, Midwest reported.
“I’m passionate about recycling and what little I can do to save our earth,” Pollack said in her grant application. I would like to start an environmental club to help with this program. We would also like to take trips to local lakes or watersheds to remove invasive species. “I want to take a trip to Lake Michigan to do a beach walk to pick up refuse. So often we teach the three Rs in science class but then let our students off the hook by not providing them a place to recycle. I want our club to assist our entire school with recycling. I eventually want to do recycling, campus clean up, and trips to local nature centers.
“I would start with the teachers’ lounge because I can train the adults. The library too and the gym for the games. We will put up signage and make it fun. The paper, cardboard, juice, water bottles and sport drink bottles will all be recycled,” she said.
About 10 to 15 8th graders are involved in Pollack’s recycling effort. “They help me go to every classroom and pick up items to be recycled. Then we will expand the club for all 6th, 7th, and 8th grades after school,” she said.
“The bins are about $300 each. It would be ideal to put them in the cafeteria but that involves mixing food items in the recycle bins, so that’s not going to be where we place them. We will need some training to go with the recycling. It is the students’ future. They are better at it. They even refill their water bottles now,” Pollack said.
Most recently, the school purchased recycling dumpsters for each of the buildings and have them placed outside between the high school and the middle school, Pollack said.