by Danielle Wagner
INDEPENDENCE (KWWL) First graders in Micki Sand-Cohen's class at East Elementary in
Independence are building a "green" character.
From October to January the students participated in the Youth Recycling Program sponsored by Keep Iowa Beautiful and Waste Management.
"In my classroom they recycle just about everything. If we have banana peels or orange peels for lunch, we do that. If it's paper, we've had cutting projects, all goes in the recycling container," said first grade teacher Micki Sand-Cohen.
"I think recycling is good for the earth because if we didn't go to recycling the earth would be covered with it," said first grader Emma Hansen.
The idea was to dump as many recycleable items as possible in a green bin in the Independence Wal-Mart parking lot.
Based on pounds collected, the first grade class got a check for nearly $370 for the school.
"Even though they're very young children, there are some things they can do with being responsible and being respectful of things. We don't want things to be wasted. That if things can be reused and something good comes from it, better than to waste it," said Sand-Cohen.
One student is now the "king" of recycling.
"My job is to pick up recycling around the room and put it in our recycling bin," said first grader Jacob Kurt.
Based on a book called Michael Recycle and his devotion to his task, Jacob Kurt has a new nickname.
"Now they call me Michael most of the time," said Jacob Kurt.
Micki Sand-Cohen said her students are also taking the aspects of responsibility, respect and caring for the environment home.
"Many of the families told me they took things out there specifically to the dumpster instead of putting it curbside, which was nice to hear," she said.
The Youth Recycling Program has now moved to the Independence Middle School, but the first graders in Sand-Cohen's class won't stop recycling.
They made Mother's Day cards out of recycled paper they made in class.
"I just think there's a lot more we can do to get kids outside and interested in things that have to do with nature and just taking care of what we do have," said Sand-Cohen.
Reporter: Danielle Wagner