A group of Solana Pacific School fifth graders has made a habit of digging through trash cans in order to make a difference for the environment and for animals.
For the last four months, Christopher Kam, Dillon Keating and Bryce Snow have been dutifully collecting plastic bottles and cans around their school and community and recycling them, raising $650 that they donated to the San Diego Humane Society.
The boys’ project was inspired by their fifth grade teacher Matthew Singley. About five years ago, Singley introduced a serving learning project into his fifth grade class and received a grant to support his students’ various projects on a variety of causes.
The trio got a head start on their recycling project before the official kick-off of class projects in February. By the time the rest of the class began, they had already raised about $30.
“In my five years, I haven’t had any other students be so effective in their project, raise this much money and have such an impact,” Singley said. “It’s been heartwarming to see.”
Dillon said while some of his classmates found their trash can excursions “gross”, they have been very successful—and they’ve had a lot of fun doing it, wearing gloves of course.
Every day before school, at lunch and after school they have scoured the campus for recyclables. They learned the hot spots like the cans by the lunch tables, the bin by the carpool drop-off, the teacher’s lounge—they know which teachers have a daily soda habit. When the librarian heard about their effort, she started putting recyclables for pick-up on a designated shelf in the media center. Singley had to grow tolerant of the boys’ daily hauls often collecting in his classroom before bags were hauled off to the Ralph’s recycling center.
“We’ve done it every single day,” said Christopher, who noted that they have also taken weekend collection trips to the beach and have frequently gone around their own neighborhoods. “All of our moms are sick of the bottles.”
The boys couldn’t help but peek into the garbage while on a field trip and even during a recent visit to Sea World.
“We went to the movies and my mom said ‘no bottle collecting’,” said Dillon. “I still checked the trash cans.”
“It’s kind of become a habit,” said Bryce. “We’re happy that we collected all those bottles. I actually really like bottle collecting.”
While the project officially ended last week and the check was presented to the Humane Society on June 11, the boys said they might continue this summer. Doing good is a tough habit to break.