A local elementary school collected its award last week for winning an environmental challenge last fall.
The St. Alphonsus School Environmental Club led their classmates in collecting more old cell phones than any other school in the province.
The Recycle My Cell Student Challenge, sponsored by the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) in conjunction with Waste Reduction Week ran in October 2013. The winning schools from across the country, one for each province and two of the three territories were announced at the end of February.
Electronic devices have become a major problem for Canadian landfills. It is estimated 140,000 tonnes of “e-waste” is discarded every year, all of which contain toxic substances such as lead, cadmium, mercury and barium. Over time these substances can leach into the environment causing health concerns for both humans and wildlife.
“Clearly it is the responsibility of all of us to take action for our environment and to lend a helping hand,” said Bernard Lord, CWTA president and CEO. “I applaud the students for their recycling efforts in keeping old cell phones and other wireless devices out of landfills.”
Grade 4 teacher Marissa Meyntz, the faculty overseer of the Environmental Club, said the kids in the club are very dedicated to making a difference.
“I’m very proud,” she said. “They get excited about it, in every grade, not just the young but the old. It’s nice that they have something they can be passionate about and I can help them with that.”
In addition to special events such as the Recycle My Cell contest, the club is active throughout the school year.
It runs the school’s recycling program and publishes a monthly newsletter. Each grade has a representative who reports back to his or her class monthly raising awareness and issues with the program.
In the spring, they conduct a yard cleanup and plant flowers.
The club also organizes special activities for international events such as Waste Reduction Week, Energy Awareness Week and Earth Day.
Meyntz believes these efforts do not just affect the school, but has an impact on the community at large.
“Through our newsletter, whatever we’re doing as a project, it goes to the parents and the parents can share that with other community members and I think that does help,” she said.