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Polk Central shares ‘recycling recipe’

Polk Central’s cafeteria team: Judy Osborn, Maxine Kelley, Lois Meadows, Gary Boheler, Candace Morrow, Marti Hardin and Belinda Painter. The cafeteria staff collects, cleans and organizes cans, bottles and boxes for recycling. (photo submitted)

Mix one part ‘can do’ cafeteria and custodial attitude with a hefty serving of  solid leadership, then blend well with fourth-grader elbow grease – and what you have is a “recycling recipe for success.”
Polk Central Elementary School (PCES) has recycled 8,920 pounds of material over the last six months.

Polk Central Elementary fourth-graders Benjamin McCraw and Jennifer Villegas Guerrero collect paper from the classrooms. (photo submitted)

PCES, the fourth school to receive a recycling trailer in the Polk County School System, “has consistently sent the heaviest and cleanest loads to our transfer station,” said Polk County Solid Waste Director Neal Hall. “It’s important to have each box filled and packed with the correct material; it saves time and money. We don’t want to be transporting air. When items are packed tightly the load is heavier, and that saves fuel. When each box is packed correctly – bottles and cans together in a box and paper and cardboard in another – it takes less time to empty and that saves money.”
Members of the Polk County Recycling Advisory Board recently visited PCES to learn more about their recycling recipe.
“I am happy to see how the cafeteria, students and staff have worked together to build their recycling program,” said Elaina Prevett, chair of the recycling board.
The fourth grade, led by Green Team chairperson Lorraine Young, collects from each classroom once a week.
According to Young, “The whole school really got on board with the program. The students do it all. They collect paper from each classroom, load the roll cart, break down cardboard and put it in the boxes out at the trailer.”
Up in the cafeteria, the staff collects, cleans and organizes cans, bottles and boxes for custodian Gary Boheler to transport to the recycling trailer.
“We applaud your efforts,” Cindy Walker told the cafeteria staff. “It is one more step, one more thing to do in your busy day, and we thank you for your willingness to participate. You are creating jobs through your efforts; the ‘stuff’ you collect becomes new products, like recycled paper, carpet and insulation.”
The recycling trailers and the mobile recycling service truck and trailer were made possible in part through grants from the Polk County Community Foundation and the North Carolina Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance.
– article submitted by Cindy Walker