The “Drink It, then Sink It” program officially kicked off Monday afternoon with an assembly at Surgoinsville Elementary School, although aluminum and plastic drink container recycling bins have already been deposited at all 17 school cafeterias in the county system.
The Southeastern Dairy Association provided indoor collection bins and promotional materials for the program.
Goodwill Industries is collecting the recyclable materials and will reap the financial benefits by cashing in those materials.
Goodwill also plans to station outdoor bins at each school in the near future, which will expand recycling capabilities at each school to include paper, cardboard and tin cans from the cafeterias.
Hawkins County Schools is charged by the ton for garbage disposal, so the school system hopes to see a savings from the program as well.
School officials hope another big benefit of the program is instilling in students the importance of recycling.
“We want all of the students to know that they are to drink it, then sink it into the recycling container,” Director of Schools Charlotte Britton said following Monday’s assembly. “This one school was chosen for the big kickoff, but we are taking a small program to each of the other schools for the remainder of the week. We absolutely are (trying to get students excited about recycling), and as you could see during the celebration today, Surgoinsville Elementary students are very excited about the new recycling program.”
Monday’s assembly included a skit and cheering session led by Cherokee High School students, as well as a performance by a chorus of third-graders who sang “There’s nothing to it if you just know how. So get your mama and your daddy and your sister too. Recycling is the thing to do.”
Hawkins County Schools Coordinated Health Director Erica Phillips said the program was initiated in August after principals throughout the system indicated they’d like to have a recycling program at their school.
“In Hawkins County the problem was that there isn’t any curbside recycling pickup, so there was a will for recycling, but there wasn’t a way,” Phillips said. “Through the Southeastern Dairy Association and Goodwill Industries, all 17 schools are going to start recycling this week. Goodwill actually has a recycling center in Morristown, so they will come once a week and pick that recycling up.”