Since March 1, 2019, students and staff at Resolute Bay’s Qarmartalik School have recycled more than 27,000 cans.
It’s enough beverage containers to stretch more than 3.35 km, if the cans were lined up end to end, according to the Department of Education.
“Some would say that comprehensive recycling in the North is a wide-eyed, naïve, impossible dream but I would argue that we just need more cooperation, transparency, and determination,” said teacher Jennifer Thompson, who started the recycling program. “Environmental stewardship is one of the IQ principles we teach our youth. If more schools and local Co-ops partnered to recycle aluminum, there would be more community involvement and enthusiasm which would drive the program forward.”
Thompson formed an arrangement with Resolute’s Tudjaat Co-Op whereby Arctic Co-Operatives Limited would ship the cans south. The Co-op also offered $1,500 if the students could fill a seacan with recyclables. The school plans to put that money towards a “green project,” according to the Department of Education.
The collection of pop, beer and energy drink cans was promoted via social media and through posters in the community. Students in elementary, middle and high school compete to bring in the most beverage containers and the winner chooses from monthly prizes such as movies with snacks, pizza parties or cupcakes.
“As a result, the recycling program has become a school-wide team-building activity that has garnered community-wide support,” the Department of Education stated. “Logistics for the school recycling program have been hampered by COVID restrictions this year. Still, the school has plans for a colouring contest and a school-wide competition to re-invigorate enthusiasm for the program.”