'Green team' of dumpster diving kids diverting recyclables from garbages in Regina
Students at Douglas Park Elementary School spend their recesses digging through the garbage
While most kids are playing outside and taking a break during recess, Abby Tetlow puts on her gloves, moves back her hair and starts digging through garbage.
The Grade 6 student does this every day, along with a dozen others, as part of the Green Team at Douglas Park School in Regina.
The student-led initiative has them trying to divert recycling from the garbage. It started after students noticed lunchtime recyclables going in the trash.
"Students came with an idea of taking action in their community," Nicole Putz, a Grade 4/5 teacher who supervises the green team, said.
The idea came from a sustainability unit that is part of the Grade 5 curriculum,
"It made me really proud of them," Putz said. "I'm proud of them every day for giving up their recesses to go around pick up all the bottles and dumpster dive and I love it."
Allison Tetlow helps rinse juice boxes and more as a parent volunteer of the group. She said a large amount of recyclables have been diverted from landfills from this green team alone.
"I wish we could weigh it," she said. "It is extraordinarily."
The team spends about 20 minutes cleaning out recyclables, rinsing them and sorting them properly. They're also hoping to make Youtube videos to help educate other kids.
Putz described one particular moment that opened her eyes.
"The students were emptying the recycling bins and the garbage is in the staff room and we were actually surprised to find out that staff were culprits in some of these recycling fails," Putz said with a laugh. "It also helped to educate everybody in the building."
Starting the team was an easy process, Abby said. The students learned that they could take the recycling and put it with the paper recycling, meaning no extra cost to the school.
Abby said people should know that people can get money for juice boxes and many other items don't belong in the trash.
"I hope that our school will be known as a really eco-friendly school and I hope that lots of people are going to remember us starting the green team," Abby said. "It will help the earth and the future for future generations."
She said she hopes other schools will take on similar projects.
"If everyone did it then it would really make an impact on all of the landfills."