Northridge School Recycling Program

Robert Carabez with a cart full of recycling bins

Seventh grader starts recycling program at Northridge School

SPRINGFIELD (Oct. 26, 2021) -- When 12-year-old Robert Carabez saw a problem at Northridge School in Springfield, he decided to do something about it.

One day during science class earlier this school year, Carabez noticed that the recycling bin was empty – and the trash can was full of paper.

“I figured wouldn’t it be better just to put it in the recycling bin,” he said.

He made a sign in the classroom that read, “If this is paper, go put it in the recycling bin.”

The seventh grader then found a box in his teacher Lorri Burns’ classroom and turned it into a recycling bin for her room. The teacher and student then decided they should contact the Clark County Solid Waste District about starting a recycling program at the school.

“I thought it was a great idea,” said Burns, a special education teacher at the middle school. “If he’s got an idea, I wanted to see if we could implement it and make it happen.”

Earlier this month, the Solid Waste District dropped off more than 40 recycling bins for each classroom in both the elementary and middle school wings.

The school has created a “Green Team” that will be collecting the recycled paper materials once a week, Carabez said. They’ll have matching masks and t-shirts, he said. The program could eventually include recycling bottles and cans, Burns said.

Carabez hopes the recycling initiative will catch on at his school and other schools, he said.

“I know not everyone is going to do it, but if even a few people put it in their hands and recycle, it will make a big difference,” Carabez said. “There are people out there who want to recycle; they just don’t have the chance.”

If you’re interested in starting a recycling program at your school, call Clark County Solid Waste District Education Specialist Sam Perin at 937-521-2022.