We started the recycling program at AIS - West in the 2010-2011 school year. We had a few dedicated students decorate recycling boxes for each classroom. The boxes we used were from the boxes that the woman in the copy room saved for us. It is a perfect size for a classroom recycling box. The students went around the school two times a week either during lunch or after school to collect recyclable items. We looked into what the three R’s (Respect, Responsibility, and Readiness) were and how we could make a difference in Egypt. It was intensive labor as these students needed to collect the recyclables every week, and we needed to make contact with the recycling company biweekly. We had no storage for the recyclables and the recycling area continued to be a thorn in our side.
This school year, 2019-2020, we expanded the program with the help of a parent in the parent advisory council who suggested using large bins to store and separate paper, plastic, and cardboard. Many staff brought their recyclables from home. Each teacher decides when their classroom bins need to be emptied, and they have students bring the recyclables to a designated area out near the front gates.
PAC (parent advisory council), in conjunction with the school, was able to create and pay for large storage bins. Marwa El Sayed, firstname.lastname@example.org, a parent, provided the contact information for the recycling company that collects the recyclables on a weekly basis. This year, the recycling project became sustainable and strong. The company can take glass, styrofoam, cardboard, plastic and paper. We have stayed away from glass, styrofoam, and tin as these would need to be cleaned. Another teacher had an environmental group, and these students were the first ones to want to help in recycling and reusing to make other artworks.
The best environmental program is one where we reduce waste. In the future, we should look at our school’s consumption and see where we can go green. We need to tackle the waste the canteen produces especially the use of styrofoam. We should reduce, so we do not have to recycle. Parents should send children with clean tins and plastic to throw into the bins each day. Make our recycling program into something that extends into the home and becomes a community endeavor.
Students went to the recycling center in Garbage City to see how Egypt recycles. We were able to donate to their project and buy handmade items all from recycled material.