Reduce, Reuse and Recycle: The three R’s revisited at Hudson schoolsHudson School District’s R3 committee has worked toward making an impact in the community, in the schools and with the students. The district’s R3 program goals: education, motivation and practice of the three R’s every day, everything, and everywhere.
If you haven’t noticed the semi-trailer parked in the lot between Hudson Middle School and Hudson Prairie Elementary School you are not alone. Recently, the police were called to investigate a gentleman working on the paper truck. It was Mark Mitchell, husband of Ann Mitchell principal at Houlton Elementary School and chairperson of the school district’s R3 team. He had made a personal commitment to “move paper forward” on the RockTenn Paper Recycling truck each Wednesday afternoon.
“By moving the paper forward more paper can be packed into the truck,” Mark Mitchell explained to the officer “The increased weight of the paper means more dollars for the school district’s R3 Team’s efforts.”
The officer’s response: “You should tell people about this! I didn’t even know the truck was here!”
Since the trailer arrived in September of 2010 the district has collected 65 tons of paper. Each truck holds between five and nine tons.
“While our ultimate goal is to reduce consumption of paper, we really appreciate the efforts of community members to drop off their recyclable paper at the truck,” said Ann Mitchell, R3 Team member, who is positive and hopeful about the growing awareness and practice of reducing, reusing and recycling in the Hudson community. “We also appreciate the extra effort it takes to take it all the way to the front of the truck and to be sure the recyclable paper is free of other waste and garbage (plastic, metal, glass). Paper recycling processes have improved over the years. Families are encouraged to save all paper — junk mail, magazines, catalogs, cereal boxes, all cardboard and start a habit of a weekly stop at the truck.”
A plea from committee members is for the public to only place paper recyclables in the trailer. Lately garbage, light bulbs and foam packing materials have been found in the trailer.
“The nice thing about recycling paper with RockTenn is that it completes the circle. The paper gets ground up and goes back into packaging such as Malt-O-Meal hot cereal boxes and any number of other items you can find on your local grocery store shelf all along the way providing high paying jobs for hundreds of people,” said Jerry Krogh of Rock Tenn.
The money generated from the paper truck and e-waste collections is reinvested in meeting the district’s R3 program goals: education, motivation and practice of the three R’s every day, everything, and everywhere. R3 members also team with Youth Action to assure recycling and clean up after each home football game.
“The increase in the frequency of requesting a new paper trailer is a clear indication of the need and utilization of our HSD R3 community resource,” Jim Dalluhn, middle school associate principal and R3 Team member stated.
“Having the paper truck eliminates the ‘middle man/women’ because the waste hauler does not have to haul it to the recycling plant which then hauls it to RockTenn. This provides double savings of time and energy,” said Gwen Conklin, eighth-grade science teacher at Hudson Middle School and R3 Team member.
Hudson School District’s Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (R3) Committee includes representatives from all district buildings (students, custodial, administration, nutrition services, elementary, middle and high school), community members and St. Croix County’s Recycling Specialist. The R3 Team has made an impact on students, staff and the community by developing and achieving clear goals for reduction, reuse and recycling.
Formed in 2008, the HSD R3 Team was inspired by the experience of building one of the only LEED Gold certified schools in the state of Wisconsin. Dedicated staff and administration began a discussion about how to carry the ideas forward and into existing schools. The R3 Team was born, and worked to develop a plan to guide what would be the district’s vision and goals for the next five years. The initial vision included making recycling readily available and highly visible in all the schools, educating students about recycling by developing a district guide, creating a student video for peer-to-peer education, reducing total paper consumption, eliminating disposable food service products and conducting a district-wide paper drive. All targets were met by June 2009. Several additional goals have been accomplished since 2009 including:
A unique partnership has been established with Waste Management, the district’s solid waste and recycling hauler. In 2009, Waste Management had an excess of curbside trash carts and was looking for a way to use them locally rather than pay to ship them elsewhere to be shredded and recycled. At the same time the school district was looking for ways to create consistency in the district with their recycling program without having to incur the cost of buying all new containers. Waste Management offered the district the containers and they accepted. The containers were washed and painted by the Transitions Students Program (students with disabilities) and the new recycling program label was attached. The bins were then placed in each school. Information about the bins and other recycling tips are sent through the district via the monthly Green Tip and posted on the district’s website (http://www.hudson.k12.wi.us/home).
Additional accomplishments of the district and the HSD R3 Team include:
Hudson School District’s R3 committee has worked toward making an impact in the community, in the schools and with the students.
“Thank goodness for recycling and thank you R3 committee for making the world a greener place,”said Jean and Larry Clausen, Green Wise Kids authors.