South Portland Catholic school shows recycling pays

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SOUTH PORTLAND — At the April 15 Energy and Recycling Committee meeting, members heard from Holy Cross School social studies teacher Bill Ridge on the school’s five-year transition from a single-stream trash system to a school-wide recycling effort.

In recent months, the committee has attempted to correspond with teachers, principals and administrators throughout the city about trash disposal and recycling methods at each school, in hopes of eventually transitioning to more environmentally conscious practices.

At its March meeting, committee members set a goal for the city to raise the overall recycling rate from the current 28.74 percent, to 35 percent in two years, and to 40 percent in 2019.

Holy Cross has “moved from a 10-yard dumpster picked up weekly, to two four-yard dumpsters picked up every two weeks,” committee Chairman Bob Foster said Wednesday.

“They now average a $40 per week savings,” he said. “The students do all the work and monitoring, and have taken it a step further and are educating their own families.”

Although all eight public school principals in the city were invited to the meeting, only Mahoney Middle School Principal Megan Welter, along with science and math teacher Julie Pitt, attended.

The committee is also in the process of conducting research to eventually propose an alternative to single-use plastic bags for the city.
A possible route of research, with the help of Julie Rosenbach, the city’s newly appointed sustainability coordinator, might be a regional forum with representatives from other towns and cities in southern Maine interested in crafting a similar ordinance, Foster said. 
The committee’s next meeting will be Wednesday, May 20.

Alex Acquisto can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or Follow Alex on Twitter: @AcquistoA.

South Portland and Scarborough reporter for The Forecaster. Graduate of Western Kentucky University and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. Alex can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106.