Recycling grant to improve access, educate future generations

Published 5:59 pm Thursday, April 23, 2020

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Just in time for Earth Day this week, the City of Washington announced it has received a $24,000 grant from the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality to improve recycling bin availability at public venues throughout the city, as well as provide educational opportunities for students at Beaufort County Schools.

According to a press release from the city, the grant will pay for recycling bins to be installed at various locations, including Festival Park and the Susie Gray McConnell Sports Complex, as well as a number of participating Beaufort County schools.

The grant application was completed by Berekia Divanga, who is currently enrolled in the Lead for North Carolina Fellows program through the N.C. School of Government. A graduate of Meredith College, Divanga is one of 16 recent college grads participating in the statewide program, which places graduates with municipal and county governments throughout the state.

“Originally, we were considering having more recycling receptacles at Festival Park and the sports complex,” Divanga said. “At those events like sports games or festivals held at those places, many people consume soft drinks that are packaged in plastic bottles or cans. So we’re thinking, with the number of people attending, it will be a perfect opportunity to reduce waste.”

A second component of the grant, which will be implemented in classrooms throughout the county, is a recycling education curriculum through Republic Services. This component is an initiative to start and expand a recycling

curriculum within each participating school, all of which will receive new bins to be placed at athletic fields and throughout the school.

“I think it’s a way for us to integrate the recycling opportunities and curriculum that they have into what we already have in our schools, so we can reinforce and show students what recycling is all about,” said BCS Chief Academic Officer Andrea Lilley. “We can do that at the school level and show them how to do that at home, as well.”

Schools slated to receive new bins and access to the curriculum include Beaufort County Ed. Tech Center, Southside High School, Washington High School, Northside High School, Northeast Elementary School, S.W. Snowden School, Bath Elementary School, Eastern Elementary School and John Cotten Tayloe Elementary School.

“The anticipated results of this program include continuous support for proper recycling education from all residents and visitors of the county, increased recycling participation rate, pollution and waste reduction within our community, and conservation of valuable resources,” reads the city’s release.