Thursday, June 18, 2009

Going Green: Recycle and Reuse

A visit to a school got me thinking unexpectedly about recycling and waste.

The kids were cleaning out their desks as school ended the next day. Besides, the papers and assorted junk kids collect all year, they had a number of unwanted pens and pencils. They, too, went in the garbage.

I watched this and something didn't feel right. Most of the pens and pencils were in good shape, maybe they needed a little sharpening. Most weren't chewed up; the erasers were barely used. So, why throw them away?

No, big deal, right? A few cents each. No need for them in the summer. New items will be bought in the fall.

But those unwanted pens and pencils would mean a lot to some other kids who can't readily get them or don't have the money to buy them.

I remembered seeing something on TV about African schools. Many students there rely on outside organizations to pay the fees they need to attend school. Getting supplies is another matter.

So, when it comes to recycling, why not collect still good supplies to send to African schools? This could be a great school project and something that would help others. I hope to suggest this to some teachers for the next school year and see what happens.

Postage is of course costly, but maybe there can be a penny drive to help. Or some organization would cover the costs or ship the items with their goods?

Maybe there are similar programs in the US, too, where new and slightly used supplies can be donated to poverty-stricken schools. Either way, this can be another way to recycle and help those in need.


Pam Ripling said...

Chris, this is a particularly sore spot with me. I just cringe at the thought of all the waste, perfectly good (in this case) supplies. This is an area where I think most children could use more direction. We are quick to instill good ethics, good health, etc., but we often don't teach the value of reusing?

Ophelia Julien said...

I agree with you hands down. I think all writers are appalled at the sight of any perfectly good writing instrument being tossed into the trash, but this kind of waste doesn't sit well with me, either. I hope you get some people thinking!

Norm Cowie said...

I'm Scottish. We genetically abhor any wasting. I walk through life practically shaking from OCD from all of the waste I see. I'll gorge myself on bananas when they start to go bad rather than wasting them.