We recently got the chance to talk with Jamison Elementary School about their participation in the Drink Pouch Brigade. With 4-5 years of involvement and 800 kids collecting, it is safe to say they are expert recyclers. From their experience, we learned some beneficial tips any school can use to either expand a current Brigade or to start a new one.
1. Put ownership in the kids’ hands:
Mr. Jared Hottenstein, a fifth grade teacher who manages the school’s Brigade and the ecology club, said that the kids do 98% of the sorting and the collecting. This not only instills a lifelong habit of recycling but it also gives them a feeling of accomplishment. They directly participate in the Brigade and see how much money they have raised for their school so that resonates with them.
2. Keep everyone informed
It is critical for everyone involved knowing what is going on, meaning the children, parents, and faculty. The kids write commercial skits that are filmed and shown during morning announcements to inform the school. They also do “live features” where kids go into classrooms and teach other kids how to better recycle. In addition, students get a Trash Talkers Newsletter sent home for their parents to read.
3. Have support of school faculty and parents
Without support, it would be a lot harder for Mr. Hottenstein to run the Brigade smoothly. A fellow teacher helps him manage the juice pouch Brigade and a parent volunteer ships all the pouches out once they hit the 5,000 mark. He also said how great it is to have a super supportive principal and PTA
One way the kids do promotion themselves is through the human juice pouch. One of the older kids dresses up as the human juice pouch and talks to the younger children in the primary school to teach them how they can recycle drink pouches. Besides informing, the skits on the morning announcements are another way they promote the Brigade as well. People need to know it is exists, otherwise they are not going to do it.
5. Give Recognition to Dedicated Student Recyclers
It sometimes can be hard to get kids to stay motivated, especially when it comes to bundling the pouches. It takes hard work and your hands could get dirty! Mr. Hottenstein recommends getting their faces out there by having them be the kids in the recycling skits that the rest of the school sees. It’s a great way for everyone to get excited and have it be an integral part of your school’s identity.
It’s easy to see that Jamison Elementary really cares about being environmentally friendly and has fun doing it. They are also building an Eco-Pavilion that they are partially funding by recycling with TerraCycle. To learn how you can start a Brigade in your classroom, check out terracycle.net.