C.R.A.P – A School Recycling Program Worthy of Praise

Two years after it opened in 2000, Campbell High School in Litchfield began a modest recycling program. For most schools this is hardly headline news, but for Campbell High School it became a launch pad that has impacted hundreds of students over the years and has helped to integrate environmental sustainability into the school’s curriculum.

“We started out recycling paper. We also collected aluminum cans, cardboards, and some plastics,” said Dennis Perreault who has taught social studies at the school since it opened. “We started taking the material to a local recycling center and got some minimal money for paper and aluminum.”

What happened was an organic sprouting of increased interest from one class to the next which has grown to encompass all three schools in Litchfield. It also led to investments in equipment, expanding its recycling program to new materials, and, beginning in 2009, a popular semester-long class in the economics of recycling.

“It kept getting bigger and bigger,” said Perreault about what would become affectionately known as the Campbell Recycling Advocacy Program or C.R.A.P. “We’ve been able to teach them how to turn trash into cash.”

Ray Dube, the sustainability manager for the Bedford-based Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England, had been introduced to the program during his travels as a sustainability lecturer to schools and business groups throughout Northern New England.

“I had heard about them through the different events we do to promote recycling,” Dube said. He recently got a first-hand view and was very impressed.

“They have an aluminum can baler and I’ve never seen a baler at a school. They go way beyond from what most schools are doing,” he said. “The enthusiasm of the students and the effort they make is amazing. They are instilling attitudes and habits that will last a lifetime.”

Dube also took notice at the dozens of small things the students do and their attention to detail. “Students involved in the program will collect leftover water from plastic water bottles into a cistern which is then used to water plants around the school. They also remove the bottoms from tin cans to flatten them entirely – pretty advanced stuff,” he said.

To read the full story, visit http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/crap-a-school-recycling-program-worthy-of-praise_us_59c27deee4b0c3e70e742953.