Children learn best by doing. If we are to raise a generation of children who care about the environment and who are willing to reduce their carbon footprint, there is no better way than having them practice these activities as part of their daily routine. They can see recycling in action, help make compost from the food waste, learn to buy recycled products. They can incorporate the ideals of reuse and recycling into their daily lives.
Michigan Senate Bill 904, signed into law on December 16, 2010 by Governor Jeniffer Granholm, revised the activities that need to be done in order to designate a school as either a Green, Emerald or Evergreen school. These activities include recycling programs, composting food and organic waste, waste free lunches, buying recycled or biodegradable supplies, and buying locally produced food produce. It can also include teaching about alternative energy or using alternative fuels.
A good example of how to teach children that their actions affect the environment can be found at Gill Elementary in Farmington Hills, Michigan. As highlighted in a recent article in the The Oakland Press, the school’s green efforts which include recycling, composting, using less packaging and other waste-reduction efforts, have earned finalist status in the National Geographic Find Your Footprint contest. The Gill Green Team, which is dedicated to making the school more earth-friendly, entered the contest under the direction of fourth grade teacher Christine Wilson and Gina Adams-Levy, Gill parent and Green Team member. The Green Team already recycled plastic and other materials, but lunchtime still generated a lot of waste. To deal with that lunchtime waste the Gill Green Team kicked off Waste-Free Fridays in January 2011, showing skits that gave examples of waste reduction at an all-school assembly. The team also sent notices home to parents, encouraging them to pack waste-free lunches on Fridays. The result, on Fridays the amount of lunch waste goes from six trash bags to four.
Maxi Container believes in helping school’s recycle so much that we have previously donated fiber drums to Osborn Preparatory School in Detroit to help start a Recycling Program with City Year Detroit. We encourage other schools to contact us, whether about our rain barrels and compost tumblers or your school’s recycling initiative. When students put these DIY projects together, watch how they work and understand the importance of building towards a sustainable future. Hopefully we help create a lasting impression on the student, one which says, if we each do something everyday to help promote green living, we help protect and better the world around us while building a more eco-sustainable future for future generations.