In 2018, the Leonia School District was awarded a $10,000 NJEA Sustainable Jersey grant as well as a $5,000 grant from the Carton Council. The District used a portion of these funds to purchase and implement a paper-carton recycling station in each of the District’s schools (Anna C. Scott Elementary School, Leonia Middle School, and Leonia High School).
These stations allow students to empty their milk or juice into a sink that drains into a bucket. The liquid is transported by the custodian and disposed of in the sink. The cartons are then collected separately from the trash and placed in the dumpster for paper-recycling. The benefits of using the paper-carton recycling stations are plenty:
- Increased recycling of paper-cartons
- Increased revenue to town by decreasing cost of trash disposal. Leonia school district pays to dispose of trash (-$70/ton) but receives a credit ($60/ton) for recycling paper.
- Decreased custodial workload of transporting heavy bags filled with liquids.
Leonia School District students received an educational session (February 1, 2018) on the proper use of the stations before implementation. The district began using the stations on April 23, 2018. This project has helped propel the school community towards sustainability by educating children on the importance of recycling and taking care of the environment. The hope is that, by incorporating recycling in the lunchroom, students will take these efforts home with them and continue them with their family.