WEST HAVEN — At Country View Elementary, it’s not unusual to see students getting excited about recycling.
Several sixth-graders each day get time to round up the paper products around the school.
“You gotta reuse things,” sixth-grader Matthew Rudman said. “Instead of cutting down trees and natural resources, you gotta reuse it.”
The process can also be a bit cathartic. Sixth-grader Braylor Hoggan was seen enthusiastically throwing away a large book.
“It was a math book, so you wanna throw that away,” Hoggan said. “Reusing stuff is better than just throwing it away and polluting, and making these garbage dumps bigger.”
From one to many
Principal Melissa Copeland said there was only one recycling dumpster outside the school when she started there more than nine years ago.
“It was always full,” Copeland said. “So we’d order another dumpster, and then we’d order another dumpster, and my secretary ordered a couple of new dumpsters this summer.”
There are now seven recycling bins in the school’s front parking lot. Copeland said the vast majority of the recyclable items put in them come from the surrounding community.
“There are schools that are giving their bins back, because they’re not being used adequately,” Copeland said. “So we’re taking the bins. In fact, we could use another couple of bins. We’re just running out of room for carpool.”
On average, the school turns in roughly two to four tons of paper goods for recycling with Green Fiber. The company is able to give them a little money back.
In 2017, the school recycled nearly 50 tons of material.
“We get about 700 dollars a year, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but it really helps us out,” Copeland said.
In past years, the money has gone to help build and maintain an outdoor classroom, and to buy and plant trees in honor of retiring teachers.
The biggest payback, however, may be in the lessons the students are learning.
“I think it’s good for our planet. It helps everyone,” sixth-grader Camdyn Anderson said. “I feel like we’re helping out, because every grade gets to do their part in helping with recycling.”