Daily Sitka Sentinel

Sitka Schools Haul In Cash for Recycle Effort

    The Sitka School District has turned potential garbage into cash.
    The conservation nonprofit Keep America Beautiful awarded the Sitka School District the $1,000 prize for Alaska schools competing in the Recycle Bowl Competition.
    Community recycling coordinator Norm Campbell said the Sitka schools recycled 4,250 pounds of paper over 17 school days, or 3.4 pounds per student, and 250 pounds a day. He noted that some of the days in the Oct. 17 through Nov. 12 contest period were in-service days, when the students were not in school, making the win more impressive. {mosimage}
    The purpose of the contest, in its first year, is to show the potential for recycling in the schools. Nationwide, a total of 2.1 million pounds were collected and recorded for the contest from 1,223 public and private schools.
    “Keep America Beautiful is thrilled with the success of Recycle-Bowl’s inaugural year,” said the organization’s president Matt McKenna, “and our congratulations go out not just to the Sitka schools but to all participating schools for their work in showing how small changes can make a huge impact.”
    Campbell said he hoped to raise the profile of recycling in the schools, encourage recycling in the community overall, and save money for the city and landfill space. Most of the recyclables collected in the schools is mixed paper, which today has a market value of $120 per ton and keeps the product out of the city’s waste stream.
    “That represents a substantial landfill fee that’s saved by the city,” said Campbell, who worked on the project with recycling assistant Bob Husel. Other materials recycled in the contest were cardboard, mixed paper, metal cans, plastic, glass and aluminum.
    Campbell spread the word about the program, seeking to have all recyclables go into the bins provided at every building. He hopes to get more teachers and students involved in promoting the program next year.
    This year, only two school districts entered in Alaska, but Campbell said he is pleased with the win nonetheless.
    The prize money will be used to buy more recycling bins for the schools, he said.
    School Superintendent Steve Bradshaw was pleased by the news.
    He said his office recycles the shredded paper that comes out of the district offices.
    “We try to put in the best effort we can,” said Bradshaw, whose office is in the Keet Gooshi Heen building. “Can I honestly say 100 percent is recycled? Probably not.”
    He said Campbell has done a lot to raise awareness among the district employees and students.
    “We’re trying to follow his lead when it comes to recycling,” the superintendent said. “There’s still more we can do in the district.”

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