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Thursday, December 3, 2009

MCPS Loves Trees: Going Green (Part 3)

In this part we're going to take a good look at the recycling data in MCPS. Don't worry, I'm not going to single out any schools, but I hope that we all take away a good lesson from this post about recycling.

In MCPS, The formal recycling program began in 1998, with recycling at less than 7 percent of the waste stream. Slowly, quarter by quarter, recycling performance steadily increased until 2002, leveling off between 27 and 30 percent of the waste stream. Today, paper recycling accounts for 76% of all recycling.

Despite the great strides that our county has made in the past decade, we still have a ways to go. A recent study on recycling by the Office of Legislative Oversight found that MCPS has a large opportunity for growth among paper and bottle/can recycling, resulting in massive savings necessary during these tough economic times and set a goal for 36% recycling system-wide, implementing several programs for positive and negative incentives.

One such program is the Recycling Rewards Program: All schools are eligible to achieve recycling rewards by sustaining a recycling rate of 36% or more or by achieving a substantial improvement in recycling performance, as compared with other schools. In addition to these rewards, ratings are given to schools based on recycling percentage, County grades, SERT facilitator data points, and evidence of an active in-school recycling program. What we get is a system where recycling data is pin-pointed down to the school through the SERT Program so we can fix schools or reward them based on their performance. Here's a sample data sheet for a school in MCPS:

As a result, MCPS has begun:
• Examining and reorganizing existing resources to enhance the recycling program – SERT synergy
• Creating an additional position to manage and expand recycling operations (budget neutral)
• Increasing awareness through multi-media information campaign
• Investing in infrastructure improvements, incentives, and additional streams of recyclable materials such as putting in new bins for bottle and paper carton recycling throughout all the schools

These initiatives have shown massive pay-outs in terms of recycling:

In our next part, we're going to take a look at green techniques in our schools.

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