Tucson Green Magazine, February 2008
"For me, it's a matter of necessity to change the world, and you've got to change it beginning with the children," said Adrian Marks, a Marana, Ariz. resident.
Marks, whose daughter is a third grader at Rattlesnake Ridge Elementary in Marana, was stunned when he learned that none of the 17 schools in the Marana Unified School District recycle. As chair of the newly formed PTO recycling committee at his daughter's school, he is working with other parents, teachers, and students to change that. So far, the group has been instrumental in getting a recycle bin and pick-up service at the school by a local company, Saguaro Environmental.
As the newest school in the Marana district, Rattlesnake Ridge hopes their pilot program will set a precedent for other schools, showing that recycling can work, and also soothe concerns of district administrators.
According to Marks, the school district said it would require a budget of more than $8,000 per year to implement a district-wide recycling program--a budget they say they don't have. Marks, however, believes schools can reduce that cost to zero with proper education about recycling.
"By filtering out recyclables, the school can replace one of their dumpsters with a second recycling bin at no additional cost." The success of the program would depend on the cooperation of teachers, students, and staff. Rattlesnake Ridge teachers have agreed to help create assemblies focused on educating students and staff about the importance of recycling. They also plan to work with the student council and Tucson Clean and Beautiful on environmental awareness programs for the students.
Marks estimates that 15-23 tons of trash from Rattlesnake Ridge ends up in the landfill each year. When that number is applied to the entire district, Marks said the school district's trash totals 391 tons per year. He said a successful recycling program at the school would reduce that waste by half.
"It's kind of endless what you can do. It's just a matter of organizing it and taking small steps."