Terey DeLisle

How many of us know that April 22 is Earth Day? Is it just another one of those “calendar holidays” that is largely ignored, or may even have a negative connotation?

I guess every day should really be Earth day, since it’s where we live, and we naturally want to keep it in good shape for a long time!

Recycling and being mindful of keeping waste to a minimum doesn’t mean you have to become a fanatic, or be something that takes a lot of work. Even little changes can make a big difference. Most of us already are doing things like returning bottles or reusing plastic grocery bags.

Like its residents, the city of Trenton has a lot to be proud of when it comes to “being green!” The recycling program at the City Transfer Station (1801 Van Horn Road) is available free of charge for residents. Newspapers, plastic containers, glass, tin, aluminum cans, empty paint and aerosol cans, appliances and used motor oil are accepted.

The items don’t even have to be sorted, so it makes it that much easier! Yard waste such as grass clippings, leaves and tree branches may also be disposed of. Call (734) 675-8470 for further information. Proof of residency is required.

Although the city did try to implement curbside recycling in the past, a spokesperson for the Department of Public Service tells me that they could not get enough residents to participate, and the city cannot shoulder the cost. However, she said, the Transfer Station recycling is a very active program.

It’s never too early for me to start thinking about The Trenton Midsummer Festival! This year, the Festival is again making a big effort to make the event “green.” In 2008, Trenton was the first festival Downriver to provide a “Green Street,” including recycle bins for all kinds of materials, a solar-powered entertainment stage, and many earth-friendly sponsors. Again this year there will be a recycle truck trailer for plastic, bottles and aluminum. The Festival recycled 500 pounds of plastic, cans and paper in 2010 and 710 pounds in 2011!

The Midsummer Festival is looking for Green Team Leaders for this year’s event. If you want to make a difference in your hometown and maybe have something impressive to add to your resume, be a part of it! Volunteers are needed to help promote the Green Street, helping visitors find where to recycle, hand out prizes, and promote environmentally friendly ideas. If you are interested in joining this worthy effort, please call (734) 675-7300 for more information and to sign up.

Recycling and conserving is something that the children of Trenton will grow up doing, and will come naturally to them. We can definitely thank the school system for that. As an example, Hedke Elementary takes teaching kids about protecting the environment seriously.

Principal Vince Porreca tells me that the “students learn about recycling and conservation as part of school” and the school definitely implements recycling as part of the school day.

Hedke has been certified as a Michigan Green School now for the third year in a row. To receive this designation, a school earns points for each earth-friendly activity they have in place. “You have to earn at least 15 points to qualify — this time we got about 18 points,” Porreca said.

“The fourth graders are very involved in the recycling effort, as it goes along with their science curriculum.”

Teacher Angie Essenmacher’s fourth-grade science class also votes on an endangered animal to “adopt” each year. The class learns about the animal, and then on Earth Day, there are poster contests and donations made to their cause.

Each classroom also has paper recycling bins, and the fourth graders go to each classroom to collect the bins and empty them into the large bins located in the parking lot.

Porreca said this results in keeping hundreds of tons of paper out of the landfill and makes a few hundred dollars a year for the PTO.

The fifth-grade classes participate in an Outdoor Ed camp, learning about forests, rivers and streams, and composting. In addition, the school recycles water bottles, batteries, ink cartridges and juice boxes, receiving 2 cents back for every Capri Sun brand and 1 cent for others. He adds that the school building was recently renovated to be energy efficient.

We have only scratched the surface here about what we can do. I’d love to hear about how you and your family are recycling! Do you have or know of a business that is making a green effort? Tell me about it at tribterey@yahoo.com.

One comment on “Terey Delisle: ‘Green thinking’ is starting to extend well beyond one day a year

  1. Judy Kane on said:

    We have made a concerted effort to recycle, and I made my first run to the recycling center yesterday. It was much less complicated than I had expected since sorting isn’t really required. I would like to know what happens to the garbage collected by our city trucks after it is taken away. What happens to the “stuff” in the recycle bins?
    So much “stuff”!

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