Join a Brigade, Earn Money, Save the Earth
Happy Earth Day everyone! What are your big plans to celebrate today with your students? Are you planting a tree? Reading in the school garden? Making recycled art projects? Finding alternative energy sources?
Why not join a brigade, and earn money while you’re at it?
When I taught in South Carolina, I use to attend the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) sponsored event called “Action for a Cleaner Tomorrow.” It was a great learning experience where I learned more about composting, using rain barrels, recycling, and what I could do in my classroom to reduce, reuse and recycle. Many statewide EPA organizations host these great learning events and I definitely recommend attending one when possible.
At the event, one of the sponsors shared with us items they made out of recycled items. I had a pencil made out of denim, and another made out of recycled money. There was carpet made from recycled bottles and purses made from drink pouches. Lots of items can be made from recycled material. You’d be amazed!
But recycling is not always convenient. Of course when I’m traveling and I see a recycling bin for my water bottle, I use it. But what about the rest of my trash? Or when I’m home? My community just doesn’t encourage recycling by making it easy. And of course, if it isn’t easy, not man people are going to do it.
So this weekend when I was reading an article, I learned about TerraCycle and knew that it was the way to encourage recycling in many places! The way it works is you join a specific brigade, such as the Elmer’s Glue Brigade or the Chip Bag Brigade, and you start collecting the waste from those items. You get paid something like $0.02 for each wrapper or glue container, which doesn’t sound like much but if 100 kids gave you the chip bag from their lunch, that’s $2. And I bet at least 100 kids bring chips to school a day and so in one week, that’s $10 and $40 in one month. That’s $360 a year. That’s almost the price of a new iPad or gardening materials to beautify the reading garden in your school. Or money to replenish the consumable materials for a science lab. Maybe use it to sponsor a field trip to a local landfill or recycling center. Competitive organizations like FBLA and the Robotic Teams could use the money to help cut their expenses.
OR, a subscription for your school of Weekly Reader Express added on to your netTrekker subscription. Great way to use a
digital resource, with the learning tools like read aloud, and reduce the amount of waste. So many ideas!
AND, you could ask a local sub shop to help you out by collecting the bags from their guests as well. Just make sure you have someone dedicated to go pick up the bags on a set schedule. You could also hang out at sporting events to rescue the materials from the bins there. So many possibilities! Our old canteen group could have collected the chips and wrappers from those who bought from us in order to raise money for a field trip celebration.
They are plenty of brigades out there, and some of them are only open to schools. Read through and if possible, sign up for several brigades. Maybe one for each grade level or special interest group in the school. Definitely some possibilities.
If you do sign up for TerraCycle, I’d love to hear which brigade you signed up for and what you hope to do with funds raised.