Saturday, November 7, 2009

The scoop on recycling glue sticks!

Some useful information from the Greenhabilitator...


My daughter started Kindergarten in August and we had the pleasure (?) of our first school supply shopping experience. I was befuddled by a few things: 1) They asked for copy paper. Isn't that something the school supplies teachers with? 2) They didn't ask for notebook paper. I don't expect her to be writing essays or doing algebra, but won't they be writing anything? 3) They ask for an awful lot of glue sticks.

After 2.5 months of school now it all makes sense. They don't need notebook paper because they write on worksheets...lots of worksheets - thus the need for the copy paper. LOTS of worksheets. And most of them include cutting things out and pasting them onto other worksheets.

Macy is learning a TON, so I won't even think about complaining about all the worksheets. They do go into the recycling bin as soon as they come home. (Shh...don't tell her that though!)

The glue sticks are another issue. All that plastic.

Enter Elmer's Glue Crew Recycling Program! Elmer's has partnered with Walmart to take back their empty glue sticks and bottles. All you have to do is box them up, print a label, and drop the box off at Walmart. Here's what happens next:
A local plastic recycling company picks up the empty bottles and glue sticks from Walmart®, takes them to their factory, and puts them into a machine to compress the plastic bottles and glue sticks into a block. Then they ship these plastic blocks to a toll company, where the plastic blocks are put into another machine to be ground into bits. Once the plastic is ground up into little pieces, it is sent to an injection molding company, which rinses the ground-up plastic again to remove any traces of glue or other debris. Once the ground plastic is thoroughly clean, it is melted down into liquid plastic and placed into a variety of injection molder machines that form new consumer products or packages.
Sounds like a lot of energy exerted to me but, because we're not going to stop schools from using glue, we should at least make sure the glue sticks and bottles get recycled and given a new life. According to the website they're made into things like gardening equipment and park benches.

The photo above is the glue sticks that we collected in my daughter's Kindy class in a little less than one month. That's about 45 glue sticks. Over nine months of school we're likely to collect 400 glue sticks from her classroom alone. There are 4 Kindergarten classes in her school, so we could recycle 1600+ glue sticks this year - more if the other grades participate as well. But I'm working in baby steps!

If you'd like to get your local school participating, just visit the Elmer's Glue Crew website. They offer contests, prizes and activities throughout the year as well as some really good lesson plans (with the standards that apply, for you teachers out there!) and activities.

This is something that is so easy to do: Drop off a small collection box to each classroom, collect the glue sticks once in awhile, drop them off at Walmart. You save some plastic from the landfill, the kids learn about the importance and process of recycling.

14 comments:

Green Bean said...

That is cool. I really had no idea that something like this was in place. I'm going to pass this along to the head of our school's green team and see if we can set this up at our school.

fullfreezer said...

Great information! Thanks. I've only got one left in elementary school but it would be great to get this started in the schools.

Alison said...

In the mean-time, you could decorate that tree (at your husband's school if I remember correctly) with all those glue sticks!

Daisy said...

I wonder if they take other brands for recycling... I'm an elementary teacher, and the environmental charter down the road (and down the hall) might be interested in taking this on as a service project.

ruiaf said...

They should also teach that recycle only comes after Reduce & Reuse. The 3 R's come in order. There are refills for glue sticks!

Donna said...

2.5 months into our first year of pre-K and we've noticed the same phenomenon. Thanks for the info.

utahlawyer said...

Thanks for the info. When I was in elementary school, we used paste made from flour and water that the teachers would pack into reused filmstrip canisters. When your canister ran out, you would go to the teacher for a refill. Also, it didn't hurt us when we ate the paste. This might be a better, and cheaper, alternative for the schools to use instead of all of those glue sticks.

Kellie said...

@Alison ~ YES! Great idea!

@Daisy ~ They will take all brands, but can only recycle #1 and #2 I believe.

@ruiaf ~ I didn't know they were refillable. I'll have to look into that. Thx!

@utahlawyer ~ LOVE that idea! The things we do to the environment in the name of convenience...

Over Coffee - the green edition said...

Great post! Thanks for the info. I am going to share this info n my blog as well as with both my children's school. Thanks for sharing.

panamamama said...

Awesome! I'm going to do this at my kids schools too! Thanks!

Green Bean said...

Just back to say that our school has decided to implement this along with a collection box for crayons which I or another parent will melt down and make new crayons to sell at the school craft faire. Thanks for the idea on the glue sticks.

Alison said...

@ruiaf -- can you tell us where to find refills? I am usually pretty good with my online searching, but cannot find refills for Elmer's glue sticks (what we currently have) locally or online. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

You might also like to encourage the school to buy larger sizes of glue sticks. Even the largest glue sticks in the photo are smaller than the ones our school uses. More content, less packaging.

Kellie said...

@Green Bean ~ That is great!

Glad to hear so many people are working on this!

LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin