Re-2 students have recycling program rockin’ |

Re-2 students have recycling program rockin’

Theresa Hamilton
Glenwood Springs CO Colorado

RIFLE ” Bryce Pappas loves to hear the metallic rattle of aluminum cans. As a Kathryn Senor Elementary Rockin’ Recycler, Bryce and several of his fourth-grade classmates are learning the value of conservation and recycling as part of the Garfield School District No. Re-2’s district-wide recycling program.

Last year, individual schools began their own initiatives. Sparked by the enthusiasm of the students at Kathryn Senor Elementary, Rifle High School and Coal Ridge High School, Garfield Re-2 made the commitment to contract with Rocky Mountain Disposal for recycling services. Each school now has several recycling bins at their school where newspaper, office paper and commingled glass, plastic and aluminum is collected.

Bryce, his classmates and KSE academic coach Chris DeSimone are in charge of the recycling program at their school. Daily, they collect materials from classrooms for disposal in the Rocky Mountain Disposal bins.

“It makes me feel good when we go and collect the recyclables,” Bryce explained.

Last year, DeSimone, like many other teachers around the district, loaded her car and drove recyclables to regional recycling centers.

“I carried a lot of material in my car,” she explained. “We weren’t recycling as much as I would have liked to, but it was a start.”

Now, environmentally-conscientious teachers don’t have to load their vehicles, or take the extra time to deposit the school’s recycling.

“Teachers and students are seeing a reduction in the amount of trash they are producing,” added DeSimone of the impacts the program is making at Kathryn Senor.

“Students are wanting to write on whiteboards or on the backs of paper rather than wasting paper. It is really changing the mindset.”

The district-wide recycling program isn’t the only way that Garfield Re-2 is trying to go green. The district is currently in the midst of a $74.9 million bond program. As part of this program, the district has constructed the new Cactus Valley Elementary, the new Riverside Middle School, and renovated the old Riverside into Elk Creek Elementary School.

As part of each of these construction projects, Garfield Re-2 and their contractors have kept energy efficiency top of mind as they have designed and constructed the buildings. Garfield Re-2 has employed several energy-saving strategies including installing boilers which are 96 percent energy-efficient, motion sensor lighting controls which turn off the lights when the room is not in use, automated HVAC controls, and upgraded insulation in both the roofs and walls of the buildings.

Other programs such as geo-thermal and solar energy systems have been investigated, however, the up-front costs were not planned for in the initial bond program presented to the voters, and have not been included in the new school designs. They may be considered in the future.

“It is the right thing to do,” said Facilities Director Craig Jay. “We participated in the Excel Energy Design Assistance Program, and we have tried to incorporate their recommendations into our buildings. It is good for the environment and it is good for our taxpayers through the energy efficiency that we put into our buildings.”

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