RUMFORD — Mounds of paper and newspaper generated at Mountain Valley High School are now being recycled thanks to the efforts of senior Carl Zurhorst.
“We don’t want to waste … resources,” said the co-president of the school’s National Honor Society. “We want to heighten the moral obligation for the school. Recycling is beneficial for the environment.”
Zurhorst organized the program and is being helped by members of the honor society as well as by other students.
He made arrangements with Rumford Town Manager Carlo Puiia to get more than 50 recycling bins from the town and contacted the town’s waste management contractor to make sure the collection was done correctly.
Now, the blue bins are in every classroom, office and the library.
Each Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, a member of the custodial staff collects the paper. On Wednesday, Zurhorst or another student collects the paper and places it in the proper bin located at the rear of the high school.
Principal Matt Gilbert said a similar program was begun at the school about 10 years ago, but because of incomplete planning it never really took off.
Zurhorst, who plans to attend college next year in mechanical engineering, made sure planning was done correctly.
“We go through a lot of paper,” Gilbert said. “The school is a great place for students to learn how to be socially conscious.”
“Participation has been good, and the custodians have been great,” Zurhorst said. He’s thinking he may discuss a possible expansion of the paper recycling program in other schools in the Mountain Valley region, or throughout Western Foothills Regional School Unit 10, of which the high school is a member.
The program has been in place for about five weeks.
Zurhorst began the recycling program at a time when the Maine Department of Education has set its sights on preparing to apply for federal money that would help fund the expansion of environmental education to the general curriculum.
A news release issued Monday said that developing an Environmental Literacy Plan for the state’s K-12 public schools will help the state qualify for federal environmental education funding and compete for environmental grants.
The DOE is working with Maine Audubon, the Maine Environmental Education Association and the Maine Forest Service on the project.
Mountain Valley High School senior Carl Zurhorst is organizing a recycling program at the school for paper at the school.
Mountain Valley High School senior Carl Zurhorst has organized a recycling program for the collection of paper at the school.