The majority of Roxbury students were not aware of National Recycling Day last month, but many were witnessing assemblies in their schools dedicated to the topic.
Franklin, Jefferson, Nixon and Kennedy schools experienced an assembly with Bill Kerwood on reducing, reusing and recycling.
Recycling is not just for the elementary schools, as Eisenhower Middle School was treated to a morning assembly by Michele VanAllen on Kids Going Green, all thanks to Roxbury’s Clean Communities, which funded these assemblies for Roxbury students.
Roxbury’s Clean Communities program is a comprehensive litter abatement program serving New Jersey residents for more than 25 years. Its basic mission is to reduce litter in public places, promote the volunteer cleanup of public lands and sustain a reduction in litter through education.
As VanAllen stated numerous times throughout the presentation, “Earth Day should be every day!” Dealing with older students, VanAllen was able to give more scientific descriptions of why it is so important to recycle. She touched on greenhouse gases, carbon footprints, climate change, the atmosphere, and how doing small things add up to big change.
VanAllen gave students easy tips on how they can make changes in school and at home. One tip was switching from incandescent lightbulbs to CFL or LEDs and recycling their old ones at Home Depot. Students saw this switch take place in their schools over the past year as the district did a lighting upgrade to LEDs to help save money and the environment.
Other tips she mentioned dealt with clothing and shoes and how the three R’s can pertain to those as well. One item in particular she noted were shoes. She encouraged the students that if they no longer needed the shoes but they were in still good condition to donate them to someone in need like a thrift shop or social services. If they were too far gone, she shared how Nike has a campaign that has collected more than 32 million pairs of shoes since the 1990s called Nike Reuse-A-Shoe. The program collects old, worn-out athletic shoes for recycling along with pre-consumer shoe waste and transforms them into Nike Grind, a material used to create athletic and playground surfaces and more.
At the end of the presentation Elizabeth Omegna, EMS assistant principal, pointed out a few things EMS is doing, like composting their lunch scraps, building a greenhouse to grow a garden to be more sustainable and the new water bottle filling stations.
Roxbury Schools have been working for the past few years on earning Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification at each building and at the district level.