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Student Recycling Saves Elementary School Thousands

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(credit: CBS) Esme Murphy
Esme Murphy, a reporter and Sunday morning anchor for WCCO-TV, h...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – One local school has done such a good job recycling that it has saved almost $10,000 in garbage bills in the past year-and-a-half.

This school is Excelsior Elementary in Excelsior, Minn., and in 2011 the school saved $5,200 in garbage fees by recycling. Through just the start of this year, the savings have totaled around $4,800.

Amidst the bustle of lunch at the school, there is important work going on. Fifth-grader Georgia Morrow said the school does a great job of separating items and recycling appropriately.

Fifth-grade members of the school’s environmental club make sure younger students get every recyclable item in the right bin. The results are impressive. In one year, the school has reduced its garbage by 3,000 pounds.

“I think it’s pretty great, because then you can use the money for school supplies and not have to worry about taxes and stuff,” Morrow said.

And this year, the students at Excelsior Elementary are expecting to smash recycling records. They have had recycling bins in the lunchroom before, but this year they have a large sign above the bins telling kids what to put in each bin.

Teachers say the students are an inspiration.

“These kids are excited, because they know they can make the world a better place,” said teacher Shane Weber.

The students also have a message for adults who might not recycle.

“I think they should probably start doing it,” student Elizabeth Flannagan said. “Because if littler kids are doing it, they should start doing it.”

The ambitious Excelsior Elementary students are doing such a great job that the school is hoping to reduce its garbage pickup from one week to two, and that could save the school thousands more.

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