Cross Roads Preschool and Kindergarten was awarded one of eight Green Apple Grants from the U.S. Green Building Council Arizona Chapter, which was used to begin a community recycling program at the school. The grant request was written by parent Melisa Camp.
The purpose of the grant is to create a recycling program to divert garbage from landfills and teach young students how to recycle their trash from the classroom, home, and their lunches.
“By making recycling habitual in all of our classrooms, these children, aged 2 to 6, can learn to consciously make choices regarding trash, which can have a life-long impact that will reach far-beyond their first school experience,” Camp explains.
As of November, Cross Roads has begun collecting items such as drink pouches like Capri Sun and Honest Kids, aluminum-lined bar wrappers, food pouches such as apple sauce and baby food pouches (with lids), and broken or unwanted crayons. During the first two weeks of the program the school had diverted more than 400 items from the landfill and several pounds of crayons.
The grant money was used to purchase labeled recycling bins for each classroom. “Our curriculum will address taking care of the environment and the students will learn about where trash goes and how it can be used to make new things,” Camp says.
The drink pouches, aluminum wrappers and food pouches will help earn money for the school through Terracycle, which provides free waste collection programs for hard-to-recycle materials. Those materials are then turned into affordable green products.
“The profitability will depend on the amount of waste recycled,” Camp points out. “Terracycle will pay for the shipping label and we plan to send it in used cardboard boxes donated by parents or staff.” Any money earned will be used to keep the recycling program going and expanding in the future.
Each waste collection category is referred to as a “brigade.” “Our school will join more brigades with Terracycle as they become available,” Camp says. “We are currently on the waitlist for the writing instrument and lunchable brigades.” The Terracycle brigades are sponsored by certain companies, however items collected do not need to be brand specific.
The Crayon recycling program is through a company called Crazy Crayons. “We collect broken or unwanted crayons in each of the classrooms, then pay to ship them to Crazy Crayons in Minnesota to be recycled into new crayons,” Camp explains. “Our goals is to educate students, parents, and staff that 60 tons of crayons are made daily with petroleum based wax that eventually ends up in our landfills when they don’t have to.
“We want to teach our students to be problem solvers while taking care of our Earth,” Camp says. “Recycling should be something we do without thinking about it and by teaching children from when they are small we can accomplish this goal.”
All residents in the North Central area that use any of these types of products are encouraged to save them and bring them in to the school office, located at 7901 N. Central Ave., on Thursdays between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. For more information, call Melisa Camp 480-703-3202 or firstname.lastname@example.org.