Students at the K-12 Northern Lights Academy in Rigolet, Labrador received some very cool news from the province last Friday. For their efforts in increasing their average annual percentage of recyclables by an astounding 13,000%, yes 13,000%! The school received a gold prize of $10,000 from the “Top Your Total” Multi-Materials Stewardship Board’s (MMSB) contest.
Northern Lights Academy collected on average a total of 44 recyclable containers each month in 2011. In the month of March, while the contest ran, the school collected a total of 5,929 containers.
Over 200 schools across Newfoundland and Labrador participated in this year’s contest.
The eco-friendly contest challenges participating schools around the province to recycle more beverage containers in the month of March than the average number collected in the previous school year.
Principal Oliver Jacobs says the response from the whole community was impressive as everyone jumped on board to help the youth by donating hundreds of empty beverage containers each and every day to the school in March.
“Almost every morning when kids walked in our building they would bring in recyclables and we would tally them at the end of the week. At the end of the month we submitted our totals and fortunately for us, we were declared the winner.”
While there is currently no recycling depot in the community of Rigolet, Jacobs says the school currently acts as a recycling depot through their own school recycling program. Every couple of months the recyclables collected are put into containers and shipped to Happy Valley-Goose Bay in the summer months.
“We send in seven or eight containers every year. When we did our figures, approximately 200,000 recyclable products leave Rigolet compliments of our recycling committee in our school,” said Jacobs.
He says some of the funds that are generated through the program go in to the community while most will go into the school’s fundraising project.
Jacobs says the staff of Northern Lights Academy will meet as a group to discuss what will be done with the funds from the $10,000 gold prize.
Students and staff met in a classroom on Friday via video- conference with the Department of Environment and Conservation Minister Terry French, who declared them as the successful winners.
“Regardless of the amount, it’s nice to win a contest – it’s a provincial contest and no doubt they were overwhelmed,” Jacobs said. “I’d like to thank the community of Rigolet, the students and our recycling committee for participating in the recycling program and keeping our community clean.”
Next fall, Jacobs says the school will again be participating in the recycling program and they will be ready for the next recycling challenge.