Students may save county from fines
Thanks to a group of students at Nevada Union High School, the county could avoid thousands of dollars in fines for not meeting the state’s recycling requirement
In January, Nevada Union students in Katie Alling’s applied ecology class launched the school’s first successful paper recycling program, and now at least 700 pounds of paper are kept out of county landfills every week. The effort helps the county climb toward its state-mandated goal of recycling 50 percent of its waste, Nevada County Recycling Technician Nichole Dorr said.
“Because of school programs like these, we are on the right track to meeting the waste diversion requirement,” Dorr said.
Through a grant from the California Department of Conservation and in coordination with Nevada County Department of Transportation and Sanitation, Alling’s students increased paper recycling at Nevada Union by placing large blue bags and paper-collection containers in classrooms, making posters and offering awards for students who recycled.
“We started this program because there was a need for paper recycling at the school, and my kids needed to do a hands-on project,” Alling said.
Trash collection costs Nevada Union schools approximately $180,000 each quarter, but programs such as Alling’s will help reduce costs by helping the school produce less garbage. In addition to paper, Nevada Union will begin another recycling program – run by students with disabilities – to collect cans and bottles next year.
Although schools are closing for the summer, Dorr expects the county’s recycling rate to increase as students bring their recycling habits home and to the community.
“If we can get kids to be excited about recycling, then they’ll go home to their parents and encourage them to recycle, too,” Dorr said. “These students are like ambassadors to the community.”
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