Students hope to build on school supplies recycling program
By: Matt Durnan
| Posted: Friday, Jun 13, 2014 06:00 am
A pair of Ralph McCall middle school students are the brains behind a new initiative that could potentially divert thousands of kilograms of waste from Alberta landfills.
Carter Jones and Corban Hunt launched their Choose to Care program last year, when the boys were both in Grade 7. The program could be defined as a school supply drive, as it functions like a food or clothing drive, where the boys collected school supplies to be reused or given to other students.
The idea came together after Steve Repic, a longtime advocate for tidy schools and known for his work as Rocky View School Division grounds coordinator, visited the students.
Repic gave a presentation to students about recycling and challenged them to get involved in their own school.
“That presentation Steve gave really resonated with Carter and Corban,” said Gail Helland, resource assistant at Ralph McCall. “Right away they wanted to find a way to make a difference.”
Carter took notice, that most of their old and used supplies were being dumped into trash cans at the end of the 2013 school year.
“I thought, why do the kids just throw away their stuff?” said Jones. “It was like they didn’t care.”
The boys took to the school’s public address system, made posters and set up bins in the school’s lobby for their classmates to recycle their old supplies.
Everything from binders to paper, pencils, crayons, glue sticks, erasers, scissors and more were collected.
“Do kids really need new school supplies every year?” said Hunt.
“This can save parents some money and it also saves from things going to the landfill.”
In total, the boys collected 175 items weighing nearly 15 kilograms, from their Grade 7 classmates alone.
Through some quick extrapolation, Helland found that if one grade from each school took part in a similar program, Airdrie schools alone could collect nearly 190 kilograms, that’s not including high schools.
By Helland’s calculations, if one grade per school across all 47 schools in the Rocky View School District took part, they could save nearly 600 kilograms of school supplies to be reused.
“There’s a lot of potential for this to grow,” said Helland.
The timing of last year’s program worked out very well, as the boys were able to contribute many of the school supplies they collected to Siksika First Nation after they lost much of their supplies in last spring’s flood.
Jones and Hunt are hoping to spread the word in the program’s sophomore year and take it beyond Ralph McCall and to other schools.
“We would like all the schools in Airdrie and the district to get involved,” said Jones.
While the program stands as a way of giving back, the two boys maintain a competitive streak and say they would be willing to make the initiative a competition of sorts, to see what school could collect the most supplies.
When asked who they felt would win such a competition, the response, “Ralph McCall” was unanimous.
More information on how other school’s in Airdrie can get involved in a similar program will be available closer to the end of the 2013-14 school year.