Students make effort to go green, recycle

Most of us could learn a thing or two about recycling from students here in Shelby County. From Thompson Middle School to Greystone Elementary, students in our county are going green.

Like most successful projects, the school-driven recycling programs in Shelby County each started with someone having a good idea and a passion to see it through.

Choosing to begin the expansion of local recycling efforts in our schools is a stroke of genius; the kids have the energy and enthusiasm to make the effort a success and can perhaps inspire their parents to be more earth-friendly.

The kids in Greystone Elementary School’s Green Team, which started earlier this year thanks to the interest of a parent and the team’s recycling coordinator, fifth-grade teacher Wayne Roberson, has already collected some 10,000 plastic bottles. Those bottles were destined for a landfill and now can be reused to make anything from clothing to car parts. The students also recycle newspapers, cardboard boxes and the like.

The school also recently won an Alabama Excellence in Recycling Award, which includes a $1,000 grant, from the Weyerhaeuser Company Foundation.

Just last month, the U.S. Green Building Council presented Hilltop Montessori School in Mt Laurel with a LEED certification plaque culminating years of work, construction and preparation to build a school that is friendly to both students and the environment.

Thompson High sophomores Rachel McMullen, Rebekah Pilgreen and Shannon Turek have spearheaded the Going Green movement at several schools in Alabaster. Their Going Green movement, which began at Thompson High School, has now spread to Thompson Middle School with plans to get started at three other Alabaster schools.

Recycling on a city or countywide scale costs money. Finding the money, even in tight financial times such as these, can be done; building the awareness for recycling in the county may be a far greater challenge.

Let us hope the example being set by the children of Shelby County can inspire the rest of us to make a difference in the environment as well.