Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Two women help turn trash into treasure for Gulfside Elementary School

Anastacia Rash, 35, left, and Diane Burton, 60, have spent countless hours collecting, sorting and shipping wrappers, yogurt cups and more to recycling programs to earn money and equipment for Gulfside Elementary.

MICHELE MILLER | Times

Anastacia Rash, 35, left, and Diane Burton, 60, have spent countless hours collecting, sorting and shipping wrappers, yogurt cups and more to recycling programs to earn money and equipment for Gulfside Elementary.

How to make a dent?

That can feel like an insurmountable task. Especially if you don't have a lot to begin with, or you're just a kid with no say when it comes to things like budget cuts and whether you're going to have art, drama or after-school sports next year.

Never mind things like wide-ruled paper, a Zip drive or $4 for that field trip to the Center for the Arts.

Thanks to a couple of dynamos — a stay-at-home mom of four and a grandmother who is raising a 6-year-old granddaughter — the kids at Gulfside Elementary are doing their part, turning their trash into cash and school equipment while greening up their school.

Anastacia Rash, 35, and Diane Burton, 60, are a constant daily presence, going through pounds of trash and recruiting kids like Victoria Economos, 10, who is eager to direct her peers to the recycling bin during her daily safety patrol stint outside the cafeteria.

Recycling is important, she said, "because it helps the Earth, and we can reuse things so we don't have to cut down more trees."

It's helpful to get kids, their parents and the community to keep trash out of the landfill and bring it to school.

From there it goes to Burton's garage in Holiday, where it's sorted and shipped to various recycling programs sponsored by Coca-Cola Recycling Program, Pepsi and Waste Management, and their latest venture with a company called Terracycle.

For the green at heart, there's a bounty of items that aren't on the typical recycle list that Terracycle will take and turn into something else — candy wrappers, yogurt cups, empty tape dispensers, glue bottles and the plastic store wrapping on paper towels and toilet paper. Done with that grated cheese? They'll take the wrapper. Empty tube of toothpaste? That, too, along with your old toothbrush.

"It's all stuff the county won't pick up; stuff you can't recycle in your blue bags," said Rash, who discovered the program while surfing the Internet. "And we get money for it. Two cents for a candy wrapper and 2 cents for the drink pouches."

That might seem like small change, but it adds up — $634 so far this year funneled into the school's ABC program to help needy students or to buy classroom supplies.

That doesn't include the rewards from other programs that include technical equipment, gift cards or the camcorder the school received as a gift just for signing on with Coke. Then there's "Shoes for a Cure.". Old shoes are sent for recycling, but when Gulfside's disadvantaged kids are in need, the organization is quick to come through with a gently used pair.

Every little bit helps, said principal Chris Clayton, especially in a Title 1 school where 80 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches.

"With the economy and so many people out of work, we've scaled back on our fundraisers," Clayton said. "This doesn't cost anyone anything. You're just putting your trash someplace else."

The added funds are great, but it's not just about the money.

"We want to help teach these kids how to recycle — how to make the world better, because this is our future," Rash said. "I don't think my generation has done a good job with that.''

"And we want to give back to the community," Burton said, noting that some cans brought in are sent to Richey Elementary in New Port Richey. Students there are collecting scrap metal to raise money for a school playground. Other efforts, such as sending plastic bottle tops to the Aveda recycling program, don't net any money at all.

"But it keeps them out of the landfill," Burton said.

And perhaps, it makes a dent.

>>Fast facts

To learn more

There's money to be made in recycling, and Gulfside is one of many Pasco schools putting that into practice. Funds come in from the campus Green Fiber bin for collecting cardboard and paper that will become insulation. Many schools collect ink cartridges, cell phones, household batteries and old laptop computers or MP3 players. To find out what items are accepted for community recycling, call the school of your choice.

Two women help turn trash into treasure for Gulfside Elementary School 03/08/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 8, 2011 8:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Who will headline the 2021 Super Bowl halftime show in Tampa?

    Blogs

    The NFL announced Tuesday that Tampa will host Super Bowl LV in 2021, a result of stadium construction delays in Los Angeles.

    Taylor Swift performed at Raymond James Stadium in 2015. Could she return for Super Bowl LV in 2021?
  2. New DEP secretary says there's no conflict in political side businesses

    News

    TALLAHASSEE — When Noah Valenstein, the newly appointed head of the Department of Environmental Protection, was applying in April to be the state's top environmental regulator, he left one thing off the application: Companies he started and his wife runs have been paid nearly $1 million by politicians and lobbying …

     Noah Valenstein got the job as secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection on Tuesday May 23rd, on a unanimous vote by Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet. He will take the helm on June 5, with a salary of $150,000 per year. [Florida Governor's Office]
  3. Trump says 'we can use peace' during meeting with Pope Francis

    Religion

    VATICAN CITY — President Donald Trump and Pope Francis, two leaders with contrasting styles and differing worldviews, met at the Vatican City on Wednesday, setting aside their previous clashes to broadcast a tone of peace for an audience around the globe.

    Pope Francis meets with President Donald Trump on the occasion of their private audience, at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 24, 2017. [Associated Press]
  4. Pinellas construction licensing board looking for ways to fill financial hole

    Local Government

    LARGO — The Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board's interim leader told the governing board Tuesday that the troubled agency is looking for ways to climb out of its

  5. Adam Putnam calls for special session on medical marijuana

    Blogs

    Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Republican candidate for governor Adam Putnam wants state lawmakers to come back to Tallahassee in a special session to finish the work on medical marijuana that they started but didn't finish earlier this month.

    Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam is a candidate for governor in 2018.