Eastside Elementary students embrace recyclingPublished 12:48am Saturday, February 27, 2010
By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star
Students at Eastside Elementary School are getting an education in environmental consciousness.
Thanks to a grant by the Berrien County Resource Recovery, the school has been able to institute a recycling program at Eastside teaching kids the importance of protecting the environment.
“We have approximately 350 students here and so it directly affects all of them,” Emily Iwaniuk said Friday. “Because they’re learning the responsibility and the importance of recycling to keep our earth clean and save our environment for future kids and children.”
With money received through the Berrien County School Recycling Grant, Eastside has been able to put paper-recycling bins in each of its classrooms.
The special education department is running the program. A total of 18 special education students have been working at collecting the recyclables twice a week, once to collect from each classroom and once to take the material out to be picked up by the Gateway Inc. recycling company.
“We’ve reduced our trash by half, just recycling paper,” Iwaniuk said.
Through the recycling program, Iwaniuk said another benefit has presented itself. A school specializing in special education and students with special needs, Iwaniuk said Gateway also provides jobs for special needs adults.
“We kind of take pride in the fact that we’re a special education institution” that utilizes a company that goes on to help adults with special needs.
Asked to give Iwaniuk thoughts on how the program has impacted them, she said students told her they felt they’d learned recycling is an “important contribution to our community,” something they can teach to their families and others, and that the program helps them feel like they’re not only helping out their community, but the world.
The total amount received through the grant was just $251. But it’s enough, Iwaniuk said, to provide for bins for each of the school’s 17 rooms. And the plan is to expand the recycling services to plastic and aluminum.
As for the students, “they’ve learned responsibility, that it’s their job. And they’re proud of it,” Iwaniuk said.