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Helping environment, one milk carton at a time

Daisies encourage schools to start recycling program

Nov. 27, 2012

Section Elementary School Daisy Scouts are onto a simple idea with a big impact. After attending a recycling program through the Waukesha YMCA in March where Daisy Troop 9136 learned which items can be recycled, they were surprised to discover a recycling gem right in the school cafeteria: milk cartons.

The troop estimated that about 470 cartons of milk a day are consumed at Section Elementary School, which equates to 2,350 cartons a week or nearly 80,000 milk cartons in a school year.

"It seemed odd that no one ever tried to recycle the cartons given the amount of milk they go through," said troop co-leader Michelle Pastorek.

After checking with Principal Bob Slane and confirming with John's Disposal Service that the cartons could be recycled, the troop began a milk carton recycling program this year. The troop donated and decorated a large bin for the cafeteria where students can deposit empty milk cartons.

Students were already accustomed to emptying milk cartons before depositing the cartons in garbage containers to avoid leaking garbage bags. They quickly adapted to disposing the empty cartons in the new recycling container. Once separated from lunchroom garbage, the milk cartons are included with the school's recyclable materials.

"This is something easy we can do, and it makes a big impact on the environment," said Pastorek. "Instead of going to a landfill somewhere, those cartons will now be recycled."

Pastorek wants to get the word out to other schools in the district and encourage them to implement a milk-carton recycling program. Given the number of milk cartons coming from Section School, the environmental effect would be even greater if each building in the Mukwonago Area School District recycled cartons, explained Pastorek.

"Our girls are proud of the difference they are making." Pastorek added.

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