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Boxes, Bottles & Banana Peels – A Guide To School Recycling

Student male voice: Flip is open, he looks, he shoots, denied.
Student female voice: Hey that’s not a trash, that’s recycling.
Student male voice: I thought it all went away in the trash.

Narrator: But where is away?
Back in the old days we used to throw everything into the trash, as long as it went away, nobody cared.
Young female student says: I care.
Young male student says: I care.
Group of older students yell out: I care!
Group of younger elementary students yell out: I care!
Jake Von De Linde, Dean of Students, Parkview Center School smiles and says: I care.
I’m Jake Von De Linde, Dean of Students at the Parkview Center School and um part of our Green Team Recycling Program.

Narrator: Ramsey County wrote a guide on how to set up a school recycling system but it takes more than words to turn environmental ideas into earth-saving action.
It takes a team, a Green Team.

Jake Von De Linde, Dean of Students, Parkview Center School smiles and says: We set up the Green Team to enhance our recycling efforts, both with food waste and paper and other recycling that we can do around our school.

Narrator: What you might think is trash is actually a treasure.
Male Pirate: arrrr!
Narrator: We separate our recyclables like paper, bottles and cans, from icky stuff like used napkins, ABC gum, you know, already-been-chewed and candy wrappers.
We make it simple to store your stuff.
The recyclable containers are different colors from the trash; blue for paper, green for bottle & cans, and grey or black for garbage.
And we make it convenient for you.
We put containers in all the places where you might have stuff to throw away, and everywhere you find a trash container, there’s a recycling container too.
Silly Voice: Where’s that?
Narrator: Glad you asked.
You’ll find the recycling containers in hallways, classrooms, offices, event areas, and cafeterias.
Once you learn all that, it’s simple to keep going because we make it consistent.
The containers and labels are the same throughout the building.
So what goes in the recycling?
Notebook paper, old classroom handouts, office paper, cardboard boxes, newspapers, magazines, pop cans, plastic bottles from pop, juice and water.
Remember to empty bottles and cans first and remove the bottle caps.
In case you forget, remember to check those labels on the side that have words and pictures of what goes in each container.
What goes in the trash?
Plastic bags, yogurt cups, wrappers, paper towels and napkins, and remember when in doubt, throw it out.
We all play a part in making the recycling program a success.
Students get to do what’s called “Service Learning.” That means they help by bringing the recycling from the classroom to the collection centers in the hallway.
Custodians collect the material.
There’s good reason for keeping paper separate from bottles and cans.
John Cook, Building Engineer, Parkview Center School says: We keep it separated the paper from the liquids, the liquids being the bottles and cans in the green container.
We have to put a bag in that one for liquids to be caught so they are not left behind and make the trash can stink.
Narrator: It all goes back to the pickup area where it’s put in the appropriate container.
Then the trucks come.
A trash truck empties the dumpster and a recycling truck picks up the recyclables.
And from there, they go to the icy blackness of space.
Remember when we talked about the trash going away?
This is that away place.
A landfill.
Trash comes here and is piled up, smushed down, and then covered up or your trash may go to a processing facility where it’s turned into fuel for an electricity generating plant.
Each year there’s more garbage because each year there are more people living in the Twin Cities and we keep making trash.
The good news is that about 40% of our waste is recycled.
Recyclables from the school are tipped at a materials recovery facility or MRF where they are separated from each other and each type of material is compacted and bound together in a bail and gets shipped off to manufacturers to be made into new things.

Tom Troskey, Recycling Manager at RockTenn says: I’m Tom Troskey, Recycling Manager at RockTenn here in St. Paul.
Alright, this is the scale, everybody that comes in with scrap paper will come across.
We’re in the loading area now looking at different piles of scrap paper; pile of corrugated, pile of residential paper.
You’re looking at the forming devices on the paper machine where this cleaned up fiber is being spread out over a moving screen.
And now you’re gonna look at paper making its way over the dryer stacks where we have to dry the paper out.
You’re now looking at a large roll of it coming off the dryer stack which is getting ready to send to our customer.
Narrator: Eventually, that paper and other recyclables end up in all sorts of products that we use every day.
Notebooks, notepads, Post-it notes, cereal boxes, copy paper, aluminum cans, newspapers, paper towels, and toilet paper.
And the cool part, many of these can be recycled again.
Okay, maybe not the toilet paper.
Did you know that trees give off oxygen?
You know, the stuff we breathe.
Some people like to give trees a thank you hug.
I just give’em a fist bump.
It used to be that to make paper, we had to cut down trees.
Male voice : That bothers me.
Narrator: Environmental stewardship means protecting our resources.
Recycling saves resources because we don’t have to cut down as many trees and use lots of water and energy to make paper.
And what makes it even better, recycling saves money.
Schools have to pay taxes and extra charges for all the stuff that goes into this trash dumpster.
But recycling, that’s exempt from taxes and charges.
Fill ‘er up.
Jake Von De Linde says: With our garbage pickup, we’ve decreased that from five days a week to three days a week to help save us money.
John Cook says: We increased our recycling to one extra dump a week because of the sorting and separating, and everybody realizing what can and can’t be recycled.
It sure did decrease our trash.

Young girl says: Hey.
Young man says: Hey.
Young girl says: I bet you didn’t know that we recycle food too.
Young man says: What?
Young girl says: Yep, our food waste is turned into treats for pigs.

Narrator: If this were magic our food waste would disappear.
Instead, we separate food waste from the other stuff.
That’s right, you don’t need to pig-out, these guys will.
No need to go hog wild.
If you don’t want it, don’t take it.
If you bring cold lunch, tell mom…
Young boy says: No Brussels sprouts please!
Narrator: Then we recycle by putting food waste into barrels so that unwanted stuff becomes swine supper.
Pigs love to pig-out on school food waste and it’s easy to separate your unfinished sandwich from the unwanted trash.
When you first start, adults and other students will be there to help you learn how to sort trash from food waste using these food waste sorting stations.
It’s so easy to learn, you don’t have to be smarter than a 5th grader to figure out what goes in the big barrel.
Young boy presses bell and says: Chicken Sandwich.
Young girl presses bell and says: Milk.
Narrator: Yes, all sorts of uneaten food or stuff you didn’t drink go into the waste barrel.
Remember, if you can eat it, pigs can eat it.
Pigs also like things such as banana peels, apple cores, melon rinds, and orange peels.
From here a janitor wheels the barrel to the loading dock.
Then the farmer wheels the barrel to his truck.
He empties them, cleans them out, and then returns the barrel.
Your school food waste is cooked in the truck and then served up to hungry pigs, and these porkers didn’t even have to call to order this takeout.
Phone rings and woman answers: Hello?
Pig responds: oink, oink!
Narrator: These things go in the trash: Styrofoam trays, ketchup and mustard packets, plastic silverware, popsicle sticks, napkins, plastic packaging, drink boxes, milk cartons and your bottles and cans go into the recycling.
When you’re done sorting food waste from trash, it’s time for the three Ss (Save Space By Stacking).
By stacking the trays, we can fit an entire day’s worth of trays into one garbage bag.
No more lifting heavy wet messy bags of cafeteria garbage.
John Cook, Building Engineer, from Parkview Center School says: We’re not lifting heavy food and liquids from the lunch program into the dumpster anymore, and we only have one bag of Styrofoam trays per lunch time instead of just dumping them into the dumpster and it would just take up a lot of space. We take up very little space now by stacking.
Narrator: That means the custodian has to make fewer trips to the dumpster.
We save dumpster space, which means fewer trips for the garbage truck.
John Cook, Building Engineer, from Parkview Center School says: This program has been a back saver and a money saver.

Narrator: We can all work together to be good environmental Stewarts by recycling.
It’s easy to recycle when you use these simple guidelines: make it simple, make it convenient, remind everyone what to recycle and where to recycle, make it consistent and when in doubt, throw it out.
And we can recycle more than bottles, cans, and paper, we can turn food we didn’t eat into a feast that lets these guys pig-out, and that makes us all feel good.
Jake Von De Linde, Dean of Students, Parkview Center School says: As a school I think it’s all been a great program for us to have.
It’s gotten, um, our staff on board.
They’ve been very excited about doing the recycling and feeling like they’re making a difference.
Our students feel like their making a difference too.
I think it’s a simple and easy program to get started and to be able to do, and any school and any district could take it on and make it work.

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