GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) – Every Wednesday, the cafeteria at College Park Elementary School in Gautier looks kind of trashy, but that's a good thing. College Park is the first school in the Pascagoula School District to launch a campus-wide recycling program.
The idea came from a group of concerned parents. Now, 21 students have taken charge. They are called the Recycling Rangers.
"We collected cans and bottles," said fourth grader Chasity Lewis. "SSome kids don't understand the part of recycling, so I think this would help them."
Every Wednesday, each Ranger is responsible for the recycling bin in his or her class.
"It's not easy. You have to apply to become a Ranger. You have to be responsible," said Principal Suzanne Ros. "They sort the items. They chart their data where they keep up with how much materials we are collecting and recycling."
And the enthusiastic Rangers love to talk trash to encourage their classmates to protect the earth.
"To help the environment and stop using, cutting down trees and less oxygen. Instead we can reuse it and keep more oxygen," said fifth grader David Russell.
"The reason why we're proud of ourselves is because we're saving all the animals so they don't get hurt and cut by it. And we're picking up cans on the side of the road, so our community don't look bad," said fifth grader Cameron Crager.
"If they see us doing it here at school, then they're more likely to do it at home," said Ros. "We have a lot of children that bring items from home. Maybe their parents don't do it. They bring it here."
In one week, the Rangers collected eleven bins of recyclable items. Since the recycling program started last September, the students have collected more than 5,000 plastic bottles and 2,000 aluminum cans.
By the way, the students are also collecting soda can tabs to donate to the Ronald McDonald House, as well as Capri Sun juice pouches as a fundraiser for the PTO.