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Schools use recycling grants as teaching tools

Recycling assistance grant recipients from schools, businesses and municipalities join Governor Markell and DNREC Sec. David Small


First State schools are using state grants to curb waste and create learning opportunities.


H.O. Brittingham Elementary School in Milton was one of 13 schools awarded a state grant this week to expand its recycling program.


Students at the school calculated they use 100,000 plastic water bottles each year.

“I think that was very eye opening for these students,” said secretary of Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Controls, David Small. 


He said calculating the school’s waste was a class project with real life applications.


The school will now use the grant money to put recycling bins in every classroom and purchase reusable water bottles for students.


Postlethwait Middle School in the Caesar Rodney School District is using the grant funds to compost food waste from its cafeteria for use in its garden. Students will also measure how much food is thrown away that could be properly composted.  


Small said he hopes the grants will not only reduce waste, but teach students how to measure their individual impact on the planet.


The state has handed out $8.5 million in grants since the program began in 2009, and diverted 2.9 million tons of recyclables away from landfills. 


Small said the state has done well creating infrastructure for residential recycling in the past six years.


“And now we really need to build some of that same capacity and success in larger institutions like schools or hospitals or larger businesses,” he said. 


That's the area this new series of grants is targeting. 


In all, the state handed out more than $714,000 in grants Tuesday to 13 schools, 9 businesses and 2 communities.


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