Students surprised their peers with 11 bags of recyclable material that they would normally throw in the garbage. (Jessica Peters/ The Standard)

Hope students leading the way with recycling efforts

Coquihalla elementary diverts piles of recyclables that they would normally toss in the trash

There was a big reveal at Coquihalla elementary on Monday morning, to the happy surprise of the school’s 200-plus students.

Bag after bag of garbage was pulled out from behind the gymnasium’s curtains, and after each one, the kids got more excited. That’s because they knew that these bags of trash are not destined for the school grounds, where they’d be picked over by birds and squirrels. They aren’t heading to the transfer station, where they will fill up containers heading to the U.S., where Hope’s garbage is processed.

And they won’t end up in the waterways, filling up fish bellies and choking marine life.

These bags of trash are going to be recycled, thanks to the efforts of the students and their teachers. And the contents are not what one would normally expect. Soft plastics, like the over wrap from a convenience bag of cookies, or a chip bag, are all stuffed in.

The Grade 6 students went class to class just a few weeks ago, explaining that soft plastics that normally get thrown in with garbage can actually be recycled. It just takes some effort, and they had plenty to offer.

In total, the school has already filled 11 bags of recycling. The recyclable material will continue to be collected, sorted and cleaned at the school, and driven to the recycling centre here in Hope.

The school says they aren’t producing as much garbage as a result, and at Monday’s presentation, the Grade 6 students talked to the rest of the school about ways to continue reducing.

They suggested reducing garbage by encouraging their parents to invest in reusable snack and drink containers, even reusable straws and cutlery. They talked about refurbishing old items, by buying second hand items. They even asked the kids to remember to refuse plastics, buy not buying items that are wrapped in plastics and by remembering to bring cloth bags to the grocery store.

To learn more about what can and cannot be recycled via drop-offs in Hope, and to print out a list for your home, visit the District of Hope website.

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