Recycling turned out to be fun

Published 5:03 pm Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Why recycle? That is the question Karen Balch’s Nicholson Elementary third grade class, Cody, Kyle, Nicholas, Tyesha, Dioniesha, L.J., Victoriana, Tamea, Kyelynn, Bobby, Kesean, Matthew, Ashley, Christopher, and Eric dug into for several weeks. The answers may seem obvious to some, but others need the lesson.

Cody said, “Because the animals are endangered from the trash things left around. They can gobble it up and choke and die.”

The children gathered 253 stuffed animals, 500 magazines, and numerous pairs of shoes to recycle.

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The stuffed animals went to the police department.

“They will use the stuffed animals to make sad, little children feel happy during an emergency. We’re not using them anymore, so we want to give them to children who need them,” said Kyelynn, one of Balch’s students.

“When people have wrecks with babies in the car, the policeman can give them an animal to calm them down,” Ashley said.

“My goodness, that is a pile of stuffed animals,” Chief Jim Luke said when the children emptied the 50-gallon barrel full of toys so they could count them.” He was very pleased with the donation and said he was impressed the children had gathered so many. When asked how long the toys would last, he said, “About six or eight months.”

“Our school can use the magazines for art projects,” Kyelynn said, “and some of them will be donated to the elderly for them to read, and to the children’s hospital.”

The shoes were gathered so the children could refurbish them with decorations so they could be sold to the other school children. The refurbished shoes were resplendent with colorful pom poms, paint and shoe laces.

Some other projects included creating objects of art from recycled items, such as taking photographs of different scenes then pasting on art paper and completing the scene with a different medium such as pencil or colored pen. The students also cut photos into geometric shapes and created two dimensional works of art.

Poems, essays and journals became part of each project which tapped into creative facets beyond assembling art.

Recycling is reprocessing materials into a different form for use, it is not reuse of an object in its existing form, states Wikipedia.

The main benefit to recycling is that it reduces the amount of waste and another benefit is it reduces the amount of energy consumed in transforming raw materials into useable products. The reason for this is the materials used have already been purified in the original manufacturing process.

According to an Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources report, it takes 20 times more energy to make aluminum from bauxite ore than using recycled aluminum. That doesn’t include the environmental consequences of mining the ore.

“The amount of garbage, called municipal solid waste, Americans generate has inched upwards since 1960, from 88 million tons to over 229 million tons in 2001,” according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA).

The good news is, 50 percent of all paper, 34 percent of all plastic soft drink bottles, 45 percent of all aluminum cans, 63 percent of all steel packaging, and 67 percent of all used appliances are now recycled, according to

The site also states, “”Twenty years ago, only one curbside recycling program existed in the United States, which collected several materials at the curb. By 2005, almost 9,000 curbside programs had sprouted up across the nation. As of 2005, about 500 materials recovery facilities had been established to process the collected materials.