Let’s get ready to recycle: AAPS redoubles its recycling efforts

Now all classrooms in the district have new recycling collection boxes, thanks to a partnership between the Ann Arbor Public Schools, the City of Ann Arbor and the nonprofit Recycle Ann Arbor.

The last school-wide distribution of recycling collection boxes happened over a decade ago. Most of the original boxes are either battered or lost, making it hard for all classrooms to keep recyclables out of the trash baskets.

The new boxes have a keyhole opening, which discourages trash while fitting paper, plastics and bottles. Previous boxes only accepted one kind of recyclable material.

The inspiration for the 2012 renewed recycling effort began last spring when Huron High School’s Green Team contacted Kendra Pyle at Recycle Ann Arbor, which is contracted by the City of Ann Arbor to set up free recycling collection service at all businesses within the city limits.

Huron students Jungsoo Chang, Hani Elhor, Jiaao Hou, Sumeyye Korkaya, and Gabby Steinl worked with Pyle to design a recycling proposal to present to the school administration. Soon Bradford Mellor, Director of School Operations, and Tom McMurtrie, Ann Arbor’s Recycling Coordinator, joined others on the implementation team.

The Huron students developed a recycling poster and video to accompany the recycling roll-out. “We wanted to not only have a strong recycling program at our high school, but also to help recycling get a boost at all schools,” said Huron student Jiaao Hou.

As a coordinated effort, Mellor sent out an all-school recycling announcement to school faculty and staff, and school custodians covered recycling as part of their recent in-service training.

According to a recent audit of the 2012-2013 school semester, Ann Arbor Public Schools are on target to collect 386,000 pounds of paper this fall, which translates into saving 3,280 trees, 1.3 million gallons of water, 90,000 gallons of oil, 786,00 Kilowatts of energy, and avoiding 113,000 pounds of pollution by reusing pre-processed materials to make remanufactured products.

All schools—as well as businesses and nonprofits—located within the City of Ann Arbor are eligible for free weekly recycling pickups, outdoor recycling storage bins, posters, starter sets of indoor collection bins, and staff training. For more information on the Ann Arbor’s free recycling services, please contact Recycle Ann Arbor at info@recycleannarbor.org or 734-662-6288.

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