The Keep Fayette County Green community recycling bin program will expand into the Albert Gallatin School District.
Uniontown, PA - Three Fayette County entities are “sharing the love” this Valentine’s Day, thanks to a Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) grant.
Albert Gallatin Area School District, German Township and the Fayette County Recycling Program are working together to place new, Keep Fayette County Green recycling bins at the district’s elementary schools. The bins will be purchased as part of a $149,400 grant awarded to German Township by the DEP’s 902 Municipal Recycling Program.
While Smithfield Elementary was among the first batch of recycling bins ever placed through the recycling program, A.L. Wilson, Friendship Hill, George J. Plava and Masontown elementaries will soon follow suit.
Albert Gallatin Superintendent Christopher Pegg said the Smithfield Elementary bin has been successful, with teachers, cafeteria and custodial staff using it regularly.
“We’re excited to expand the program here and start offering it at all our elementaries. Hopefully we can expand to the middle and high schools, once we find places for the bins,” Pegg said. “It means a lot to me, personally, because my household recycles. We do the same in our business office and use the community bins.”
German Township supervisors will use part of the grant to purchase a Caterpillar skid steer for their township compost site, which was the original inspiration for seeking the grant funding. Supervisors LC Otto and Steve Clark said working regularly with the county recycling program showed them the potential for a bigger environmental impact.
“We wanted to expand recycling in our community, along with education and outreach,” Otto said. “I feel like recycling sort of missed a generation and wasn’t in our schools, so we want to make sure we get it back into the curriculum. I graduated in 2005, and I missed out on this, so we’re working now to lay the groundwork for a better future by looking at longevity and sustainability.”
“The earlier you get these kids to start recycling, the better the chances that they’ll continue to do it as adults. If we reach them now, they’ll go home to their parents and ask them to start recycling,” Clark said. “The landfill is in our township, and increased recycling will keep it from filling up as quickly.”
In addition to the new bins and skid steer, German Township will use $20,000 for recycling education. Fayette County Recycling Coordinator/Stormwater Manager Sheila Shea said the Pennsylvania Resources Council, who regularly partners with the county, will offer classroom programs for Albert Gallatin students in fourth through sixth grade to help promote recycling.
“Schools have an obligation to look at waste as an expenditure, and that can be reduced through recycling and reusing materials. School waste is approximately 80 percent recyclable, so schools make a huge impact when they commit to reducing waste,” Shea said. “It’s exciting that the county, township and school district has committed to working together to reduce what goes into our landfills.”
The grant funding will allow for the purchase of up to 9 bins. Bins remaining after placement in the school district will be used to fulfill the county’s community waiting list.
Shea said the bins are currently in the bidding phase are expected to be placed before the end of the school year.
“When it comes to being environmentally conscious, it takes all of us. We have to be a team,” Shea said. “We all have to contribute, and educating our youth is where we have to start, because we’re preserving our future for them and the generations to come.”
To learn more about the Albert Gallatin Area School District, visit www.agasd.org. To learn more about German Township, visit www.germantownship.org.
For more information about the Fayette County Recycling Program, visit www.facebook.com/FayetteCoRecycling or www.fayettecountypa.org/242/Solid-Waste-Recycling-Stormwater.
For more information, contact Sheila Shea, Fayette County Recycling Coordinator/Stormwater Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kaylie Moore, Community Relations Coordinator, at email@example.com.