Trudeau Writing Tools Recycling Program

Trudeau Leadership Team

Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elementary
  • Grade 7
Photo Essay (3–10 images)

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BC Green Games Project Submission 

Team Name:  Trudeau Leadership Team 

The Leadership Team at our school, which consists of 8 Gr. 7 students decided to start a writing instrument recycling program at our school through the Staples Terra-cycle Recycling program initiative. The school has been trying to focus on and learn more about climate change and environmental stewardship, so this program was a way for our school to try and make a difference to our landfills. See past learning here: https://www.vsb.bc.ca/schools/pierre-elliott-trudeau/about-us/news/_layouts/15/ci/post.aspx?oaid=ae96dcd8-ed57-458f-8103-fbecd8ad8573&oact=20001 

We purchased bins through money we accessed by applying for a VSB Sustainability grant to start this project at our school, and taped posters and instructions to it, and 2 Leadership students over a week went to classes to drop off the bins and discussed the how and the whys of this program and answered any questions students and the teachers might have had. 

Script: “Did you know that many writing tools like pens, markers, highlighters and mechanical pencils (show pics on the bin) end up in the garbage when they could be recycled into other things?   

How? The writing instruments are separated by material. The separated items are then cleaned, shredded, melted down and made into new recycled products.  

By recycling any brand of pens and pen caps, mechanical pencils, markers and marker caps, highlighters and highlighter caps, permanent markers and permanent marker caps, over 2 million writing instruments have been saved from ending up in landfills where our garbage is kept.   

Why does this matter? Rotting garbage in our landfills release a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.  

What is climate change? Our Earth’s temperature is getting warmer and this is affecting animals and plants and our weather is becoming more unpredictable. When the bin gets full, it can be brought to the office and dumped into a cardboard box beside the photocopy machine – Ms. Smith can show you where. Thank you for helping our Earth!”     

   Information and photos were also sent home in the school newsletter making the home community aware of what we were doing and to send in any items from home to be recycled.  

            We learned that a small group of people could make a change and an impact on our school and the environment. With the momentum of Greta Thundberg, this gives all students the confidence and knowledge to be able to continue to do projects like this in the future and never to think that just a few people can’t make a difference.  

The next steps are to ask the VSB sustainability team if all schools could do this recycling and be supported by the school board just like paper and organics. This way it’s not left up to individual schools and students, which could make a larger impact because it’s a larger scale. Either way, we will be continuing with this at Trudeau for years to come!