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Carlstadt Teacher Launches School Wide Recycling Project

Maura Barrett with several of her students.
Maura Barrett with several of her students. Photo Credit: Maureen Barrett

CARLSTADT, N.J. — A fourth grade teacher at Carlstadt Public School is trying to promote recycling, help save the environment and fundraise for the school — all in one go.

Maura Barrett proposed that the school join the TerraCycle trash collection program because she wanted to do something to help the environment.

She also wanted her students to appreciate the value of recycling.

"[Children] are going to be here a lot longer than some of us adults," said Barrett, who has been teaching at CPS for 15 years. "They have to learn to take care of the environment."

TerraCycle collects difficult-to-recycle waste and repurposes the material into unique products.

The company will compensate schools that partner with TerraCycle with $0.01 cent per waste item, or points that can be redeemed for a variety of charitable gifts.

Barrett has signed the school up for the " Drink Pouch Brigade " and the " GoGo SqueeZ Brigade ," meaning the school will work to collect these drink and snack packets and send them to TerraCycle.

"If those are successful or we find that the kids are bringing them in, I would look into joining some of the other brigades," Barrett said.

The teacher has set up collection stations in the cafeteria and several other locations around the school. She is also encouraging students to bring in waste from home.

Students are already becoming enthusiastic about the program, Barrett said.

"They are excited because they actually see that their waste can be turned into cool products," she said. "They like that they are making a contribution."

Barrett hopes her efforts will continue to impact the community for years to come.

"One year from now I hope the school is collecting even more items," Barrett said.

"It will have a positive impact on the community and it will help kids understand just how important it is to recycle."

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