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FWS Kindergartners Learn About the Three Rs: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Old crayons. Toilet paper rolls. Outgrown sneakers. They may be common household items, but they can also be recycled and reused in uncommon ways.

Furnace Woods kindergarteners recently learned about the 3 Rs -- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle -- during a virtual presentation on recycling, offered by the Center for Environmental Education at Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES. CEE Naturalist Beth Thompson gave the students a glimpse into how they can help reduce the amount of trash in landfills by taking a few simple steps.

“Something that came from the earth can turn into soil after a while, thanks to things like insects, mushrooms, and bacteria,” she said. “These decomposers take items like food and turn them into compost. That is nature’s way of recycling.”

Thompson talked to the students about reusing and recycling and how an unwanted or old piece of material can be transformed. Plastic water bottles can become new water bottles, or they can become something completely different, like a birdhouse. She surprised the students with the idea that even parts of old sneakers can end up in the surface of a playground or become a Frisbee.

“There are things we can reuse in many creative and crafty ways,” Thompson said, describing the difference between common and uncommon recycling.

Common recycling includes paper, glass, cardboard, metal, and plastic taken to a facility and recycled into the same item. Thompson said that there are a lot of uncommon items that can also be recycled by shipping them off or bringing them to a specialized location where they might be refurbished or made into something entirely different – like old crayons, sneakers, holiday light strings, or electronics and batteries.

She challenged the students, who were both in the classroom and learning remotely, to find items they can reuse and recycle, in order to reduce the amount of trash that gathers in landfills every year.

FWS kindergarteners learn about recycling