Totals for all schools in Cartersville and Bartow County were tallied and reported by KBB for the first half of the 2012-2013 school year. Thus far, schools in Bartow have recycled more than 101 tons, keeping that trash out of the local landfill. The 14 elementary schools in Bartow and Cartersville have collected 64.7 tons of garbage since the school year began, while middle and high schools have totaled 36.3 tons in recycling.
Recycling totals through the end of November were presented to the Bartow County Board of Education Monday at the last regular business meeting of the year.
“We participate in recycling in the county, and as you’ll see that the central office has contributed 4,140 pounds,” said Bartow County Schools Superintendent John Harper. “Our elementary schools have provided 129,333 pounds for recycling and our high schools have provided 72,600 pounds for recycling. We believe it is a part of our curriculum that we teach our kids to recycle and be good stewards of our environment.”
Sheri Henshaw, head of the Bartow County Environmental Programs Division, explained how the school recycling program has led to success in recycling programs across the county. “The goal of the program when we started was to get schools recycling, but as someone who is education minded, I feel you learn by doing and if you can learn by a certain age it will carry with you forever. So I know that if we can get students excited, it can lead to great things,” Henshaw said. “Kids go home and tell their parents and teachers go home and tell their spouses and their neighbors and now they recycle in the summer. It has now grown into this massive effort that Bartow is now known and established as a community growing in recycling and environmental programs.
“We actually survived a huge downturn when a lot of communities quit recycling in 2007, 2008. We were able to sustain that basically because of the school recycling program.”
While schools recycle year round, a contest for who can recycle the most will wrap up in March for totals to be made in time for Earth Day. While many schools are in a tight race, one clear leader can be seen in the results so far with Euharlee Elementary bringing in 41,680 pounds. The closest competitor is Mission Road Elementary with 17,360 pounds.
The contest however is decided by a per-student recycling weight so that smaller schools can still compete. Even with this condition, Euharlee Elementary may eventually earn their own classification in future competitions.
“We’ve just got a group of teachers in there that have gotten behind the task and believe in it, but I believe any school can if they’re just dedicated to it,” Henshaw said. “It may be, that as long as they participate and continue to produce those numbers, I may just have to make a special category for them. But they always do a remarkable job and so does Cass Middle. I see other middle and high schools starting to pull up though, which is great, because in elementary the kids get empassioned, but if I can keep them interested in middle and high school, then it tends to stick with them as they grow up.”
This program, compared with other voluntary programs, competes in size with similar recycling efforts across the state and country, said Henshaw.
“It could be a bigger program like some other places where people recycle everything, but it would have to be mandatory,” she said. “And I think where we are now with voluntary programs, we’re one of the largest programs in the state and Georgia is in the top five in the nation. So I am really proud of it and the effort made by our schools.”
For more information, visit www.tiny.cc/keepbartowbeautiful or call 770-387-5167.
School recycling totals through Nov. 30 are:
• Bartow Board of Education Central Office — 4,140 lbs.
• Adairsville Elementary — 12,260 pounds
• Allatoona Elementary — 4,680 pounds
• Cartersville Primary — 6,640 pounds
• Cartersville Elementary — 9,320 pounds
• Clear Creek Elementary — 3,320 pounds
• Cloverleaf Elementary — 7650 pounds
• Emerson Elementary — 920 pounds
• Euharlee Elementary — 41,680 pounds
• Hamilton Crossing Elementary — 10,620 pounds
• Kingston Elementary — 2,820 pounds
• Mission Road Elementary — 17,360 pounds
• Pine Log Elementary — 5,340 pounds
• Taylorsville Elementary — 1,500 pounds
• White Elementary — 8,540 pounds
Elementary Schools total as of Nov. 30 — 129,330 pounds or 64.7 tons
Middle/High School Division
• Adairsville Middle — 10,640 pounds
• Adairsville High — 5,320 pounds
• Cartersville Middle — 6,620 pounds
• Cartersville High — 3,020 pounds
• Cass Middle — 15,320 pounds
• Cass High — 4,520 pounds
• South Central Middle — 7,660 pounds
• Woodland Middle — 5,760 pounds
• Woodland High — 13,740 pounds
Middle/High Schools total as of Nov. 30 — 72,600 pounds or 36.3 tons