By Ian Perrotta
Some things learned in school last a lifetime. But when you’re being taught about saving the environment, the lesson outlasts a lifetime.
Think about it for a second. If you’d like, stop by Dickinson East Elementary School and sit on one of the plastic benches outside. Don’t worry, you can take your time. They’re made of plastic and will last forever.
And therein lies the significance of recycling. Just ask fifth-grade teacher Rahiel Housey-Johnson, the coordinator of the school’s recycling program and previously the head of Holbrook Garden at Holbrook Elementary.
“It’s very important for students and teachers to recycle at home, work, and school so we can all provide for a safer, cleaner future,” she says.
One way the school is helping to provide for that safer and cleaner future is its benches, which were created out of 1,500 recycled milk jugs. As actual tangible objects, they help students understand how products can be reused for different purposes.
Another eco-friendly measure being taken by the school is separating the paper from its regular trash. Participating classes keep a box in the room, and when it gets full it gets transferred to larger bins in a central location.
But what happens when the bins get full? Thanks to the efforts of Hamtramck Recycling Commission member Jason Eddleston, they are stored at Sterling Oil until the city’s recycling day (the second Saturday of every month).
“Nothing special happens to the paper,” says Housey-Johnson. “But it’s out of the incinerator, and for now that’s good enough for me.”