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Platteville sixth-graders teach a recycling lesson
Pltv Middle School Recycle 2
Pictured above are Platteville Middle School sixth-graders (from left) Chiakii Kong, Abby Wackershauser and Fletcher Johnson, head custodian George Trentz, and students A.M. Stephens, Shelby Faherty and Tyler McClain.

Platteville Middle School sixth-grade students are taking the lead to promote and implement single-stream recycling at their school.

One of the challenges within the new Core Curriculum is for sixth-graders to develop a school-wide service project. The recycling project provides students with a valuable community service endeavor with minimal time from the school day.

Single-stream recycling is the latest improvement in recycling. Within the last year, recycling in Platteville and many communities has gone from curbside separation to putting all the recyclables into one bin and sorting them at a different location. Recycling is collected into a single truck bin and taken to Faherty Inc., loaded into a tractor–trailer, and shipped to a facility in Madison. Mechanical and human sorting stations then separate the material into categories, bales it, and sells it to users.

The project connects with many classroom skills, and teachers have the opportunity to develop lessons linked with recycling, such as persuasive and narrative writing, science and environmental exploration, real math and business problem practice, and timeline creation to trace the growth of recycling, and more.

One aspect of the project is to spread the word to classmates about the importance of recycling. In the kickoff of the project, the students viewed a video showing the process of single-stream recycling. They watched a skit that reminded them that recycling saves space, resources, and energy. They were amused to see a trash bin being excavated for recyclables. They were surprised to see that most items that are discarded in school can be recycled. As with any habit, it is necessary to help others understand the importance of the practice and encourage each person make the habit his or her own. The sixth graders will be the “eyes” in the school that will help other students become consistent recyclers.