As Poplar Ridge School student recycling managers Shaylee Dixon and Hunter Roberts (fourth and fifth from left) reached up to open the deposit door on a new outdoor recycling bin at their school

As Poplar Ridge School student recycling managers Shaylee Dixon and Hunter Roberts (fourth and fifth from left) reached up to open the deposit door on a new outdoor recycling bin at their school

Poplar Ridge School first in province to earn outdoor recycling bin this year

It’s now easier for parents and friends of Poplar Ridge School students and staff to donate to the school’s field trips.

It’s now easier for parents and friends of Poplar Ridge School students and staff to donate to the school’s field trips.

A big blue metal outdoor recycling bin was placed at the curb outside the school last Thursday, the latest in the awards won through recycling efforts in the Poplar Ridge area.

Trina Sveinson, along with student recycling managers Hunter Roberts and Shaylee Dixon, said the school participates in the Every Empty Counts program through the Alberta Beverage Container Recycling Corporation (ABCRC).

The student managers go to every class and talk to students about how the program works, said Roberts. Each class then has its own month where it’s responsible for recycling in the school.

As a result, money raised through the classroom recycling portion of the school’s efforts is split between field trips and the participating classrooms for their own use.

“That’s why the kids want to do recycling,” said Sveinson, who’s the staff member at the school championing the recycling program.

The parent council, under the leadership of BJ Moore, holds a very successful bottle drive in the fall which raises about $1,800 to $2,200, she said. At 10¢ a container that’s up to 22,000 containers. “The community is very supportive.”

The parent council is conducting another bottle drive at the end of this month, putting a stock trailer in the yard at the school to encourage people to bring in empties. This, Moore expects, will generate about $500 to $1,000.

The new recycling container was awarded to Poplar Ridge School because they’d recorded 50,000 Every Empty Counts (EEC) prize points through the ABCRC program since September. Only six bins are awarded during each school year. They earned one EEC prize point for each beverage container the school reported to the program.

Sveinson said each month they fill out a report online for ABCRC of how many containers have been collected and recycled. This allows them to collect points towards prizes for their hard work. The school also gets the money from the recycled containers.

“We reached the quota to win the bin. We were the first out of all the schools in the program,” said Sveinson. “We had double the points that we needed, we far surpassed the quota to win the container within the time frame.”

“This school is particularly hard working,” said Alexis Mackenzie, vice president of communications and marketing for ABCRC. “They also contribute to a positive environmental impact.”

Taking part in presentation of the new bin were Mackenzie, Emily Schmidt, manager, community events and environmental education with ABCRC, Lynda Olson, executive director of Cosmos Group of Companies where the school takes its recycled beverage containers, Chinook’s Edge School Division trustee Sherry Cooper, parent council chairperson BJ Moore, Vice Principal Claire Funk, Principal Barb Hanson, student recycling managers Hunter Roberts and Shaylee Dixon and Trina Sveinson.

“This is such a valuable opportunity for students and the school council to work together, set an example for the kids of what adults can do, they can make a difference with partners,” said Hanson. “It’s so nice to know our small school can make a difference. We don’t have to be big to be a leader.”

Cooper also noted it’s nice to see the school and community working together. “Poplar Ridge is a real beacon for the whole division.”

The school has been recycling bottles and cans for the past seven years and has won prizes previously from ABCRC.

Beverage container recycling isn’t the only recycling effort at the school, said Hunter and Dixon. They’ve also been involved with cellphone recycling, are just kicking of a battery recycling program, collect pull tabs to help a little boy in Red Deer who’s trying to collect one ton in order to get a wheelchair, do paper recycling in the classrooms, and have participated in the Caps Off For Kids program through ABCRC which raised money for the Rainbow Society of Alberta to support wish-granting programs for chronically and terminally ill children.