Jefferson County Schools Teach 3 R’s

recycle_al_lgThe Alabama Environmental Council (AEC) is close to installing 3,500 classroom recycling bins throughout Jefferson County schools as an expansion of the Recycle Alabama Campaign.   The program begins this week  in Homewood City Schools, the Alabama Waldorf School and Creative Montessori School.

The recycling bins were purchased with a 2011 Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) Recycling Fund grant awarded to the Jefferson County Department of Health (JCDH).  Negotiating for the removal of the bins has been the biggest hurdle to implementing the program.

The AEC recycling program will be customized for each school system based on existing area recycling efforts and school restrictions on vending items.  In Homewood, Allied Waste will pick up metals & plastics, while the AEC will pick up paper.  These services are being offered at no cost to the schools.

” With recycling bins in the schools, we’re now able to not only teach about the importance of recycling, but also work with the students in their schools to determine how much waste they’re able to divert from landfills and connect that to measurable environmental and economic impacts,” said Alan Gurganus, Recycling Director for the AEC. “This process will not only teach youth about how and why to recycle, but also give them a real life opportunity to investigate a problem, record their progress, and explore new solutions.”


Teaching children the new “Rs” is one of the most important contributions you can make toward preserving the health of the planet. Reducing, reusing and recycling cut the amount of energy used to produce new items and the amount of pollution generated as a result.  To succeed, make recycling fun.  Entertain children on rainy days with crafts from repurposed items that would otherwise be thrown away.  If your neighborhood permits it, let your children organize a garage sale to find new homes for items they no longer need. Let them donate anything not sold or try to find a way to reuse it.

“This is a natural next step in our efforts to increase recycling in Alabama,” said Michael Churchman, Executive Director for the AEC. “I often speak of recycling as the gateway to environmental stewardship because it’s such an easy thing to do, yet we’re often without easy access.  By providing easy access to recycling in our schools, I believe we’re helping to create a more environmental conscientious citizenry.”

They AEC is currently working with Birmingham City Schools to set up similar recycling and pick-up arrangements.   Step-by-step instructions on setting up recycling programs are available online.

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