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Turning Over a New Leaf

The youngest kids may not be able to spell 'recycle' but they’re doing it.

“I’m gonna RESYKL!,” the first grader at Collins School had written. She didn’t know how to spell “recycle," but she knew what it meant and that doing it was good for the planet. 

Earth Day festivities at Collins School were off to a great start as, on the blacktop, members of the PTA’s Environmental Committee helped the kindergarten, first, and second grade with various activities to remind them what Earth Day was all about. 

This activity, pledging to do something daily to help our plant, had the kids proudly showing what they know. Some, like second grader Alexa, had a nonchalant attitude about ecology.  It was something so ingrained in her already that she didn’t even think about it.  

“Oh, my mommy composts!” she boasted.   

Other kids pledged to “clean up trash even if it isn’t mine,” “reuse my water bottle for something else,” “plant a garden,” and “recycle as much as I can.” 

Collins School, like many in town, has made a top priority and it shows. The kids routinely sort their lunchtime trash, with the help of student council members, many use washable lunch sacs and even more drink from reusable water bottles. What still requires a bit of thought for my generation is now second nature to this one. 

Later that day the third-fifth graders were treated to a presentation from Environmental Engineer Steven Weber from Covanta Energy, a firm that specializes in recovering energy from waste.

Weber explained that every day, we all make choices that directly affect the earth.  He praised the students for making good choices to recycle and reuse materials as much as possible before explaining what happens to the garbage that we put at the curb a few times per week.

While some of it is converted back into electricity, the fact remains that more than 50 percent of waste in the United States still winds up in landfills, taking up space and leaking dangerous levels of methane into the atmosphere, so reducing waste should definitely be a big priority for all of us.

With the official Earth Day happening smack dab in the middle of Livingston’s spring break, some schools, including Collins, chose to celebrate it the last day before vacation while others, like Hillside, will have activities on Wednesday.

Undoubtedly, they’ll all be renewing Livingston’s commitment to being the greenest community we can be.  And, as first grader Sasha, told me, “Don’t forget to recycle!”    

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