Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Community Recycling Offers Chance to Make a Difference

Prior to January 2007 there was no Community Recycling at ISKL. For the year prior to that, data was collected from students at the Ampang Campus regarding their recycling behaviors. Similar data was collected from parents through an online survey. The general concensus: There is a lot of recycling going on at school, but almost none at home. The reasons we were twofold: First, that there was no recognizable recycle infrastructure in place from home. Second, often family behavioral expectations differed from those of the school, resuling in a marked behavioral difference between home and school recycling.

In January 2007, the Green Team took a step forward in giving our community a chance to recycle by setting up an agreement with a local NGO named TrEES. By introducing Community Recycling to our school we not only offer the opportunity for families who would normally recycle to continue this positive behavior, but also bring recycling to the forefront of the minds of those who didn't do that before.

So now, roughly once a month, on a Saturday morning, the Ampang campus parking lot comes alive with a buzz of activity which has increased over the past two years. Community Recycling has now become part of our ISKL culture and set of behavioral assumptions, and more and more people are showing up with their newspapers, plastic, tin cans, magazines, cardboard, aluminum cans and Tetra Pak in an attempt to make a positive difference. No one forces them to do so. No one is counting. No one is holding them personally accountable, except, perhaps, for themselves. And this is the heartening fact. Community Recycling has become a success, when it is held up entirely - from those doing the recycling to those helping out - by volunteer effort.

But not only that. The Community Recycling Program has also brought community members old and young together as one unifying force. On November 1st the Melawati Girl Scouts arrived for what promises to be a monthly presence. Mr. Chmelik and his wife Betsy are often seen there, sorting and stacking recyclables. Lisa Nazim and Ronnie Wynne, who organized the Nov. 1st drop off, were happy with the results of the day. Lisa noted that, to her recollection, this was arguably the largest recycling day ever.

Other voluteers have included Everett Burke who, since his arrival at ISKL last year, has been to each and every one. Also, Lyn and Rob Thompson, Scott Anders, Rebecca Lemos, Earl and Gayle Turko, Adda Cuthbert, Kenny Peavy, Mark Walsh, Lynne Smith, Gelaldine McCavanaugh, Silver Candler and her two lovely children, to name just a few, are seen doing their fair share to lend a helping hand.

In just under two years we have collected over 22,000 kg of recyclables at ISKL. Considering how much this program can still grow, this is a powerful message that we can make a difference for our environment. That is 22 truck loads of waste that would otherwise have ended up in a landfill. And that's not half-bad for two hours a month.

Think about what we can do with even more of us on-board. So, if you don't currently recycle your waste, please take a moment to think about doing so. It is never too late. Let's keep Community Recycling going stong! Who knows, you might ever come to realize that, apart from doing what is right, it's also a really good time!

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