NEWARK – Next month, students will begin to return to their schools, which are one of the most potentially productive, yet often-overlooked, sources of recycling and conservation in any community. The late weeks of summer are an ideal time for educators, teachers, parents and students to start planning “green school” programs built around the concepts of reducing, reusing, and recycling waste.
“Parents can help schools achieve their recycling goals by reducing the amount of consumables that children carry in and by buying environmentally friendly school supplies.” said John Wohlrab, public affairs manager for Waste Management of New Jersey, “Just a few simple steps can make a big difference.”
- Purchase loose-leaf paper and notebooks made with post-consumer recycled paper.
- Choose solar powered calculators to save on batteries.
- Pack lunches in washable, reusable bags instead of disposable bags, and provide water in refillable bottles. If parents are worried about losing refillable bottles, buy one with a cap that can be clipped to a lunch bag;
- Use whole fruits and vegetables as snacks, rather than packaged goods; and
- Replace sandwich bags with reusable sandwich-sized containers.
Every year, New Jersey schools produce hundreds of tons of waste that can either be recycled or reused, from paper to discarded cafeteria food. “Every school needs recycling programs for office paper, classroom paper and cafeteria waste,” said Wohlrab. “Office and classroom paper recycling can be as easy as equipping every classroom with a receptacle for used paper that’s collected separately from other garbage. Recycling cafeteria waste requires only a small effort, and it’s already done in hundreds of schools across the country. Once the kids get into the spirit it takes on a life of its own.”
“Between home and school, we have an opportunity to create a generation that sees conservation and recycling as a routine part of every day, which is just what it should be,” Wohlrab added.
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