School Spotlight

Lipscomb Academy Elementary School

Nashville, TN

This month we travel to Nashville, TN to visit Lipscomb Academy Elementary School (LAES), a school that truly lives up to its state’s nickname, “The Volunteer State.” In 2010, Ms. Ginger Reasonover, a Science Lab Coordinator at Lipscomb, applied for the Recycle Rally program to bring her vision of an enhanced school recycling program to life. We were thrilled to learn more about the school’s remarkable journey!

When did LAES start recycling and how has the school’s recycling habits changed over the years?

A lot has changed over the past 15 years! Originally, newspapers were hauled to a local recycling facility by a few faculty members. Today, LAES has its own newspaper recycling bin and a multi-stream recycling bin located on campus, both open to the public at all times. Paper recycling bins are in every classroom and recycle bins for cans, plastics and other items are located in all of our hallways and gathering places. Designated recycle bins are placed in the cafeteria for scrap materials from meals. We’re proud to announce that approximately 70 tons of mixed recyclables are diverted from landfills each year by our elementary school!

LAES has been a part of the Recycle Rally since the very beginning. How has the school been recognized in the competition over the years?

LAES was ranked as the #19 school in the nation (Division A) during the 2012-2013 school year. This year, LAES was recognized with the First Semester Rising Star Award, which is given when recycling totals significantly exceeded last year’s amount. We plan to use the $1,000 award prize to buy outdoor recycling bins for our softball field.

Is participation in the Recycle Rally school-wide? How does each grade help out?

Kindergartners use recycled newspaper as weed barriers in gardens. Additionally, spent coffee grounds, composted leaves and cow manure are added to make rich soil for their seedling vegetables.

Third grade students are responsible for planning and executing the America Recycles Day event. One third grade class has also taken responsibility for collection, separating, counting and recording weights of plastic bottles and cans. Students are especially helpful when there are “focus weeks” prior to America Recycles Day and Earth Day.

Do you encourage participation from parents and community members?

Since we have very few plastic bottle or aluminum can sources inside our school, recycled materials are collected from home and the community and brought to school for proper disposal. We encourage collection from families by having a competition between our classes to see who can bring in the most recyclables. The winners of these competitions, usually held two or three times a year during “focus weeks,” are awarded a pizza and sock wars party. During our last in-school competition our elementary students collected 15,000 plastic bottles and aluminum cans in just over one month. This takes a lot of effort on the part of all our families. However, as parents often tell teachers, “My child has learned so much. They won’t let me throw anything away!”

What have LAES students learned from the Recycle Rally?

At LAES we value our place in the world as responsible environmental citizens. Through our recycling program students learn and participate with a hands-on approach to an environmental issue which plagues all of us: waste. Although our environmental program started with only recycling, we have expanded to include a wide spectrum of environmental issues, including e-waste, pollution and energy conservation. Our students are learning that small efforts make a big difference!

Special thanks to Lipscomb Academy Elementary School for their continued commitment to recycling!

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