The start of the school year means busy busy, but most importantly, getting busy by supporting your kids in school. Volunteers are essential for teachers and other staff to insure classrooms are well supplied and prepared for all life’s challenges. This also keeps teachers from going home to piles of after hours work so they can better care for our children.
And then there is the opportunity to just have more confidant and nurturing adults present within the school to foster relationships, and to personally get to know your kid’s peers. It’s true! When kids see supportive parents present in their schools whether it be others or their own, they are bound to feel more security and motivation to do well.
On that note, it is time to volunteer for your local Parent Teacher Assocation (www.pta.org – JOIN YOURS NOW!) – adopt some role, whether it be leadership or just pitching in a few hours to support a vital or fun-filled program.
Our elementary school PTA is fortunate enough to have parents that have initiated and run an award-winning “Super Recycling” program that goes out of its way to collect and send off items that are not normally accepted in our local curbside collection (glue sticks, markers, batteries, electronics, credit/gift cards, etc.).
The program also teaches children to be less wasteful about the way they pack and dispose of their lunches. (We even ran an industrial size compost heap for a few years out back from the cafeteria, but alas, it eventually had to be shut down due to the lack of – you know it – volunteers.)
And through involvement with TerraCycle®, each year we are able to send off hundreds of pounds of waste for the good of our planet and even a donation to the school, through the collection of items such as foil-lined chip bags, granola bar wrappers, cereal bags, juice and sauce pouches, cosmetics containers, oral care, the list goes on… we hope to add a few more items including contact lenses and their blister packs to our list!
This year I am taking over the program – so I will begin documenting the saga that is our school’s PTA Environment Chair experience (which in essence is a LOT of garbage sorting, really – sometimes with students)! I hope to expand the knowledge gained to other schools (since ours is the only school in the district to do this), and hopefully within our own community for collection drop-off dates and other recycling opportunities. I foresee kids sports events locations as a great way to garner more TerraCycle® “points” for our school – imagine the pounds of juice pouches and foil-lined chip bags being tossed every weekend at your local parks.
Check out these TerraCycle® “Zero Waste” boxes available for purchase. You can place them in your school or office, then send them off to keep these items out of your landfill! It could be something a team of people chips in a few bucks each for. Wouldn’t you feel so much better knowing you’re not chucking office supplies or coffee pods into your community’s trash?
I of course hope to teach our kids the most important step in the waste cycle – REDUCE before reaching the last and most desperate step, “recycle.” But having the option to send off the already consumed, mass produced waste and teaching the process is always better than the landfill or seeing the stuff fly off into our waterways.
Cheers to a wonderful, volunteer supported school year for all our children and their futures.