Canton High School is currently competing with schools across the country in a recycling competition.
Canton High School is currently competing with schools across the country in a recycling competition.
Canton High School, in conjunction with Keep Canton Beautiful, recently received a grant from the Mississippi Recycling Coalition to further recycling efforts on the school’s campus.

The $1,000 cash grant will be used to obtain additional recycling bins for the school, cover some costs of recycling, as well as fund continuing education on the subject at the school, Keep Canton Beautiful Director Joy Dodson said.

“Every little bit helps. We are really building a program at the school from the ground up and the school community has shown a lot of interest in it,” Dodson said.

Dodson said that the school plans to establish a Recycling Club next school year and she hopes to get more community volunteers involved with the school through Keep Canton Beautiful.

“I borrow my husband’s truck once a week and go to the school to the school to pick up their recycling. Grants like this make future efforts possible and hopefully we can get to where we can offer volunteers some reimbursement for gas or something,” Dodson said.

The recently-launched recycling program is part of a Pepsi-sponsored competition of schools across the nation to collect the most recycling. As of Tuesday, Dodson said the school has collected around 7,000 pounds of recyclable material.

The school collects aluminum, plastics, paper and paper goods. 

“The students and teachers have been great. The whole community is really motivated by this new initiative and the cafeteria staff, in particular, has taken measures to separate recyclable materials when they clear the student’s trays at lunch,” Dodson.

Dodson said ranking in the top 10 or 15 could mean a cash prize for the school as high as $10,000. Dodson said that the school has placed as high as number three in the rankings, but they only do weekly recycling pickups and that causes their place to jump around significantly.

Mississippi Recycling Coalition President Sarah Kountouris said that a panel of MRC members judged and evaluated each school grant application received based on the reuse, recycling and composting components of the program; the amount of student leadership and student participation in the recycling program; the emphasis on educating students on the benefits of recycling; and the community involvement, participation, and outreach components of the program. Other components considered included the creativity, technical design, sustainability, and maximization of resources within the program.

Rewards were awarded in the amount of $500 or $1,000 as well as a complimentary one-year membership to the MRC for winning schools.

“The MRC congratulates these schools on their fine efforts to start and expand recycling on their campuses and in their communities. We are excited to see the interest in growing recycling in our state,” Kountouris said. “The Coalition looks forward to following the progress of each of these schools during the remainder of this school year and into the next. The MRC invites other interested schools to apply for the school recycling grants in the next school year.”