Beatrice Middle School students now have an easier way to transport their recyclables throughout the school with the addition of 16 recycling barrels.
With the help of Linda Grell of Keep Beatrice Beautiful, eighth-grade social studies teacher Mike Policky was able to receive a $1,500 grant from the Nebraska State Recycling Association for the 16 blue recycling barrels.
One of the conditions of the grant is to weigh what the school has been recycling for six months. Since he received the new barrels in December, Policky has been weighing the paper faithfully.
“In two months we have taken an elephant out of the landfill,” Policky said. “When you start giving the students numbers, they see that they are making a difference, and what we are doing is important.”
The students take out between a half-ton and one ton of paper each month. Last month the weight was 955 pounds.
“It’s a good thing the barrels have wheels on them,” eighth grader Emma DuBois said.
For 19 years, Policky has been instilling the importance of recycling in his students. Every other Wednesday his mentor class collects the paper from every classroom to recycle.
“He is just a gung-ho teacher and his class has always done that,” Grell said.
Before receiving the barrels, the students used plastic bags to collect the paper around school.
“The biggest surprises are how heavy paper is and how sharp paper is,” Policky said. “With the bags, we had a lot more paper cuts.”
In addition to paper, classes also work to recycle aluminum cans and plastic. The maintenance department loads what the students have collected and takes it to the recycling center.
“I give all the credit to the kids,” Policky said. “Over the last 19 years, this wouldn’t have been possible without the kids. They are the manpower.”
Paddock Lane Elementary School also received three recycling barrels from the grant. At Beatrice High School, science teacher Arnie Cerny leads the collection.
“Hopefully by doing this I am not only instilling in them the importance of doing this at school, but also carrying it over into their own homes and recycle there,” Policky said.