Rumpke program benefits schools

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 3, 2008

Any other day of the week, Joseph Akers is a cute and polite sixth grader at St. Lawrence Elementary School, but for about an hour Tuesday, he was, well, a discarded green bean can.

Akers and fellow students at St. Lawrence learned Tuesday that however humble, discarded green bean cans, along with old soft drink bottles and newspapers and milk jugs, can be transformed from trash into treasure through a new Rumpke fund-raiser.

The Rumpke Buy-back Advantage allows people to bring their recyclable items to the Rumpke facility in Hamilton Township and, instead of pocketing the change for themselves, donate the funds from the buy-back

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directly to their school or civic organization. St. Lawrence has already signed up for the program.

“We have recycling bins in the school and the students are really good about using them,” school secretary Sally Cannon explained. “Then Dan Palmer (director, Lawrence-Scioto Solid Waste District) told us just before spring break about this program. This being a private school, anytime we can raise money, we’ll do our best.

“A lot of times, people will think about taking items to recycle and think, ‘Well, that’s only a few dollars,’ but if everyone recycles and donate the money to the school, it can add up.”

To explain the program to the students, Rumpke spokesman Jonathan Kissell first gave a lesson on recycling.

“Recycling,” Kissell explained, “is when you take something old and make it new again.”

He lined up 10 kids and, giving them signs that read “soda bottle,” “paper towel,” and “green bean can,” explained that such items, once thrown away, wind up in landfills. The problem with landfills is that they eventually live up to their name — they fill up. The better answer to waste disposal, Kissell said, is to recycle those items that can be used again.

“More than half of everything we throw away has the potential to be recycled,” Kissell explained.

Kissell drew a few amused snickers when he informed the students even their old homework papers can be recycled.

To demonstrate the idea that some things old can be new again, he passed around a T-shirt that was made from a blend of cotton and recycled plastic.

Palmer, who was on hand for Kissell’s presentation, said he is pleased with Rumpke’s new program.

“I hope this is an incentive not just for the kids but for the parents and grandparents as well,” Palmer said. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if we’re going to increase the number of people who recycle, we’ve got to start with the children. This is imperative, isn’t it?”

For more information about the Rumpke program, call 1-888-786-7531, ext. 7246.