Elementary School Recycle Program

The elementary school recycle education program was born out of the need to get the community of Moline (population 43,768) familiar with recycling in preparation of a new curbside recycling program that had been contracted for by the City in November of 2007. The committee of 10 known as “The Blue Can Group” was made up primarily of Public School teachers.

The only previous recycling done in Moline was through a County sponsored drop off site in the City which was recycling approximately 200 tons per month, providing them a bench mark.

No previous active public education had been done in the community before.

The committee very quickly moved to involve the City Public and Private elementary schools by developing an educational kit from partnership grant funds provided to them from the City, the County Waste Commission, Augustana College, the Illinois EPA, and Midland Davis. Collectively 14 recycling kits were made for all City Elementary Schools including one that was private. The kits themselves cost approximately $715.00 each to produce and included age targeted DVD videos such as Respect Yo’ MAMA here comes Mr. Recycle Man!, and The Magic School Bus Holiday Special. Other items in the kits included examples of metal ores made by the college to demonstrate where aluminum cans come from. Iron ore, etc. The kits also included curriculum and instructions for the teachers, study guides and books on recycling, the environment, green house gases, and landfill space and it included examples of products that could be recycled, and “graffiti hurts” program posters in English and Spanish. All of the items were placed in totes with lids and distributed to each School’s Library where the teachers could come and check them out for use in their class room.

To promote the kick off of the program and to introduce all of the teachers the Keep Moline Beautiful “Blue Can Group” first went to the Superintendents’ monthly meeting to promote the program with the Principal of each school. In order to get action and to insure that the kits would be used the Superintendent agreed to promote a contest that the Committee established. In each kit was a pledge sheet that the teacher would make copies of and distribute to their students. The students were then asked to sign the pledge sheet agreeing to recycle using the new curbside single stream recycling cart provided by the City, but they also had to have their parents sign it and return to their teachers.

The most successful schools at completing and returning pledges would be given a pizza party paid for by the Recycling contractor Midland Davis Corporation. Two schools exceeded 85% and were jointly given school wide pizza parties! The remaining schools exceeded 70% and were each given a “Hand Chair” made entirely from recycled products for their efforts.

Each year the Keep Moline Beautiful Commission Blue Can Committee meets to consider new products to be added to the kits in order to keep them fresh and entertaining for the children. To date the City of Moline has recycled in excess of 6 million pounds collected curbside and boasts an 85% participation rate in the new program!

The Blue Can Committee is Keep Moline Beautiful Members Kristen Bergren, Kelly Mulcahy, Sue Ratkiewicz, Sue Wolf, Kathryn Allen, Mary Lind, Heather Sund-Smith, Marty Davis, Rodd Schick, and Doug House.