Recycling programs a revenue stream for Pasco County schools

So you're thinking you'd like to help out. Money's not an option in this economy. Time is in short supply, too.

Even so, there is a way to help funnel funds and educational equipment to schools while cleaning up the local environment.

Recycle.

Yes, the schools want your trash.

According to Pasco Schools recycling coordinator Karen Bryant, the district collectively recycled 2,211 tons of assorted paper products this past year. Much of it was through GreenFiber's Community Recycling Program, which paid out close to $48,000 that was distributed among participating schools.

Not to mention the additional cash that came in from household batteries, cell phones, Inkjets, computers, bottle caps and more.

Every little bit helps — especially at schools like Richey Elementary, where 86 percent of the students qualify for free and reduced-price meals.

The New Port Richey school, headed by principal Ken Meisner, is a stand out when it comes to recycling, earning some $8,000 last year that will go to the school playground fund.

"We really push it with our families," Meisner said. "We tell them, 'This is just stuff that's going to be thrown away.' "

They listen.

Between the families of some 600 students and assistance from Morton Plant North Bay Hospital, Richey recycled 63 tons of paper, earning close to $1,400 from GreenFiber.

"It wasn't a fortune," Meisner said. "But it helps."

As does the $3,000 raised through Box Tops for Education labels. Members of the local Rotary Club pitched in with that, dropping off hundreds of labels at a time that are worth 10 cents apiece.

About $500 of prize money was added to the coffers when the school won the district battery recycling contest for the fourth year in a row.

Recycling is a way to turn trash into cash that helps fund education, but it's also a lesson in the importance of helping clean up the greater community, Meisner said.

"Some things we recycle, like wooden pallets, don't bring in any money at all," he said. "We do it just to help save the environment."

.fast facts

Pick a program

To help, check out the following offerings, call the school of your choice or check out a school website to see what programs they participate in.

For an overall look at school and community recycling efforts, go to www.pasco.k12.fl.us/recycle

• Paper/cardboard: The GreenFiber Community Paper Recycling Program turns paper products into insulation and money for the schools. GreenFiber industrial-sized bins are at various schools and businesses that partner with the schools. For information, locations and hours of availability, go to: www.pasco.k12.fl.us/recycle/community

• Cellular phones, batteries, other electronics: www.pasco.k12.fl.us/recycle/procedures/electronics

• Product labels. Boxtops for Education: boxtops4education.com/earn/clip/Default.aspx

Labels for Education: labelsforeducation.com/earn/Clip-Labels.aspx

• Plastic bottle cap recycling AVEDA: www.aveda.com/aboutaveda/caps.tmpl

• TerraCycle — drink pouch, potato chip, candy wrapper recycling and more: terracycle.net/brigades

• Soap/shampoo recycling: cleantheworld.org

• Wine cork recycling at Whole Foods: corkreharvest.org

• Elmer's Glue recycling: elmersgluecrew.com

• Ronald McDonald House aluminum can tab recycling: rmhc.org/how-you-can-help/other-ways-to-get-involved/pop-tab-collections

Recycling programs a revenue stream for Pasco County schools 07/30/11 [Last modified: Saturday, July 30, 2011 2:39pm]

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