York County Junior Master Gardeners and volunteers always make it a point to collect recyclables whenever they meet. When club leaders noted that several of the local elementary schools did not recycle, the 4-H’ers immediately asked if they could start doing so.
The 4-H’ers developed their own recycling system. Within their schools, they noted certain items that could easily be recycled and began separating these items from the trash.
The recycling program has been an overwhelming success. “The school system has seen an increase in students taking responsibility for their recyclables and separating them from trash,” says Joel Bunn, a 4-H agent in York County.
Initially, there were three elementary schools involved: Mount Vernon Elementary, Coventry Elementary, and Seaford Elementary. At these schools, the 4-H volunteers used an existing Greenworks Grant to fund the program as a pilot for the first year.
One of the Master Gardener 4-H volunteers, who worked with the recycling program at Coventry Elementary, previously served on the beautification committee. When the original grant ran out after the first year, she brought the situation to the committee. It decided to support the program for another year while additional funds were sought.
The York County recycling coordinator has responded by putting recycling into the system-wide budget for the next fiscal year. Public feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and encouraging. The volunteers hope to continue efforts throughout York County and expand the program into homes and government offices.
“I think these youth will continue to grow and develop this desire to have a positive impact on their environment,” says Bunn.