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Union Staff, York School Students Turn Trash Into Treasure

Story by Beth Michaels
Published 3/26/13

Members across the Columbia Union regularly participate in recycling efforts to do their part to help protect the Earth, but some have found additional benefits to keeping trash out of landfills.
Harold and Christine Greene, staff at the Columbia Union Conference office in Columbia, Md., just finished a third year of paper recycling to benefit the Westminster Timberwolves Pathfinder Club. The Timberwolves are the club from the Greene’s home church, Chesapeake Conference’s Westminster (Md.) church.
Each week the Greenes gather recycled and shredded paper that their co-workers at the union office have dropped in their collection box. They transfer the donations to the Westminster church’s recycling dumpster. Together with donations from other church and Pathfinder club supports, as well as people from the community, the funds they earn for the donations go toward helping club members purchase camping equipment and uniforms.
Although the Greenes don’t claim their recycling efforts have earned a large dollar amount, they feel good helping the environment while also benefitting the kids. “The advantage of this program is that the recycling company is giving us money for the paper instead of charging us to have them haul it away. So, it’s not about the dollar figure, it’s more about being responsible citizens and trying to be aware of the resources and how they are used,” explains Christine, registrar for the union’s Office of Education. Harold serves the union as IT director.
The Timberwolves are also supported by those who drop coins in the penny collection bottle in the church foyer, the large yard sale the church hosts every summer, and the fundraising dinners and snack sales the Pathfinders host at church functions. 

York Students Learn New Uses for Trash
When it comes to throwing trash away, the students at Pennsylvania Conference’s York Adventist Christian School in York are also learning to think twice about where it should go. Whether it is a Capri Sun drink pouch, chip bags, aluminum cans, broken laptops, used ink cartridges or glue sticks, among a slew of other items, everything now gets a second look.
“We will be recycling in all of our classrooms. We even held a contest to see which room was recycling the most,” McCary reports. “I am a recycler myself, and I noticed around the school that there were a lot of things that could be recycled that were being thrown away,” explains Jennifer McCary, principal. “Recycling is easy and it gives the students something they can do to be proud of. Plus they can take what they’ve learned at school and apply it at home.”
The school recently kicked off a school-wide spirit week that focused on the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling. McCary says the assembly was meant to engage the students in the TerraCycle and Dream Machine Recycle Rally programs that the school participates in, and to teach them to be mindful of what they throw away. In just one month, the students collected 6,355 recyclable items!

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