Chesterton kids seeing green thanks to recyclingSunday, May 13, 2007 12:19 AM CDT
CHESTERTON | Students at Chesterton High School know how to do more than reduce, reuse and recycle. They also know how to turn trash into cash.
CHS students increased recycling by 25 percent during the first quarter of their recycling effort. The accomplishment earned them a $500 bonus and the honor of being the No. 1 recycler for public schools in the Chicago area in the Abitibi Paper Retriever program, a fundraising recycling program that is operated by Abitibi-Consolidated Paper Co.
The students' efforts have brought in $1,700 to date, and they have recycled 110.49 tons, or 220,980 pounds, of paper since January 2006.
Susan Talbert, recycling coordinator for CHS, said the students worked hard.
"Recycling at CHS is a whole school project. We have close to 10 percent of our student body participating in the collection process, and that is probably the piece of the puzzle that other groups miss," Talbert said. "There are 160-plus CHS students collecting the papers, cans and bottles for recycling every day. They see firsthand the positive impact they are having and how all of our efforts are moving us toward zero waste."
And with a little peer pressure, they're increasing recycling in the community.
"They, in turn, encourage their friends and family to participate. They also discourage others from placing paper, bottles and cans in the trash rather than the recycle bins," Talbert said.
"Peer pressure doesn't have to always be negative. We are using it to change people's behavior in a positive way, one piece of paper, one can and one water bottle at a time."
The CHS students used the money they earned to buy energy-saving light bulbs to give away for Earth Day and to help other schools buy more collection bins.
The paper collection bins are yellow and green and are located in the high school parking lot and at other Duneland schools and Porter County locations.