Refresh the Earth - Grand Prize Winner

Teacher Name: 
Joe Brinkman
School District: 
Oakville Middle School
5950 Telegraph Rd
63129 St. Louis , MO

The theme of our “No More Trash” campaign is, “Refresh the Earth.” It is based around plastic bottles. After refreshing drinks, students and staff have the opportunity to place their empty plastic bottles into our large water bottle designed trashcan. The bottles will then be recycled instead of thrown away in the trash. We are encouraging more recycling and less waste and trash in the school and lunch room to help “Refresh the Earth.”

The entire design has been made of used and recyclable materials. No supplies were purchased and were all collected or donated. The trashcan itself is a used trashcan from a teacher’s classroom. We began the campaign by making afternoon announcements about holding a week long water bottle collection drive. We encouraged students, staff, and families not to throw bottles away, but to donate them for the project so they can be used or have any leftover bottles recycled. The recycling drive resulted in hundreds of bottles brought in by students and staff and even spread to the work places of parents.

To make the large bottle, we first covered the trashcan in blue, recyclable paper. The top portion of the bottle was made from used cardboard that was donated by students. The cardboard was measured and cut to fit the can and make the top portion of the bottle to sit on the trashcan like a lid. The bottle cap was also made from used cardboard, covered in white, recyclable paper, and then covered in the used bottle caps from the donated plastic bottles. The cap is attached to the bottle and opens and closes to allow people to place their plastic bottles inside the trashcan. Once all of the pieces were made, the entire bottle trashcan was covered in the donated plastic bottles. We finally wrapped a label around the bottle made and recyclable paper. The “No More Trash” logo is on the bottle label and the bottle cap.

Finally, the plastic bottle trashcan is displayed in the front entrance of our school. We made a large sign with the “Refresh the Earth” theme and the “No More Trash” logo. There is also a smaller sign pointing out where to open the bottle and put the plastic bottles inside. Daily announcements are read instructing students and staff about our campaign which also goes along with our lunch recycling program that the students developed. There are several stations and steps that students follow to recycle more and throw away less trash in the cafeteria. The steps are:

  1. Dump out any remaining liquids into a special container
  2. Recycle any possible materials into the single stream cans
  3. Throw away any remaining trash and food scraps
  4. Put away lunch tray
  5. There is also a special collection box to recycle chip bags and Capri-Suns

Along with the daily announcements about our campaign we are promoting a lunch competition between the grade levels to see which grade can eat lunch while creating the least amount of waste. With all of the recycling happening in the school and lunch room, the OMS Green Team is helping “Refresh the Earth,” and promoting “No More Trash.”

Grade Range: 
OMS Green Team
Number of Participants: