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Lesson Plans

Re: recycle centers

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Mark Alexander (mamjam)
Tue, 2 Dec 1997 21:48:46 -0500

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Gary and all,

In the late 70's I was the resource director of the Northshore Education
Recycle Center: Recycled Resources for Education, in Beverly Mass. We
provided the same kinds of services and had lots of recycled stuff like the
Berkeley place, but the most coveted stuff was from the Parker Brothers
game factory. We got weekly truck loads of Nerf things, tiddy winks, dice,
game pieces, and play money. Our main office and storefront was located in
an unused bus garage belonging to the Beverly Public Schools, and we
operated three other warehouses scatterted around the Northshore area.
These were all privately donated barns and garages. Our funding included a
few (very few) private grants, inservice fees, and proceeds from store
front sales ($1.00 per shopping bag). The largest portion of our funding
came from school system and childcare center memberships. A membership
entitled each of the teachers to a free weekly visit, including a bag of
recycle. Unfortunately, when Massachusetts voters passed the tax cap,
Proposition 2 1/2 (just after California's Proposition 13), the school
systems were forced to make major cuts, including the Recycle Center
Memberships. We were soon forced to close.

Back then there were a few similar Recycle Centers in New England. Once in
a while we'd have huge truck load trades, swapping our interesting
overstock for theirs. I remember a Recycle Center in Portland Maine, and
one connected to the Boston Children's Museum. I believe the Children's
Museum Recycle Center still survives.

If there's anything I learned from the experience, it was to always keep my
eyes open for cool stuff. It can be found everywhere, and if you ask,
businesses and neighbors are often glad to see their cast off trash become
your treasure. For example, my church recently purchased new big folding
tables, and I offered to take their cardboard boxes. I took them to
school. I ended up with more than enough large cardboard for each of my
eighth graders to make a life sized skeleton for Dias de los Muertos.
Another time, someone was throwing away a big old mirror, and I had it cut
up into twenty-seven 8 x 10 plate glass mirrors; enough for each student to
do a self portrait. The local glass guy donated the cutting and grinding
labor, and my brother donated wood scraps to make holders.

Of course, I have to say my wife puts up with a lot - a lot of stuff, that
is. I have to force myself to be selective, and I'm generous. If I see
someone can use it I give it away. But then, seeing things being reused is
part of the idea, isn't it?


Mark Alexander, 1-8 Art
Lee H. Kellogg School
47 Main Street
Falls Village, Connecticut 06031

"The object of education is to
prepare the young to
educate themselves
throughout their lives."
Robert Hutch

At 1:43 PM 12/2/97, Gary Bogus wrote:
>In response to the postings about art and recyling;
>I have not noticed anyone mentioning a recyling center like we have here in
>Berkeley. The East Bay Depot was started as a way for teachers to share
>recycled "stuff" for art and classroom projects. Through the support of the
>Alameda County Waste Management Program, it has grown into the best place
>to get cheap,recycled materials, and to drop off unwanted "stuff" for
>others to use. They also sell gift packs of "stuff", do in-service training
>for teachers on using recycled materials, hold classes for kids, and
>sponsor a "Trash to Treasurers" art competion.
>What it really is is a warehouse of egg cartons, plastic trays, maps,
>posters, papers, fabric, tile, wood, discarded material from light industry
>(plastic containers, styrofoam, educational materials, zippers, you name
>it). Heaven for packrat art teahcers! Great ideas and new stuff at every
>visit! I really think every community should have one.
>DOes anyone else have a place like this? How's it staffed/funded?

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