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Middle Country Central School Dis

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Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone poses with the Hawkins Path Recycling Crew. Photo from Bellone's office

Thanks to a Suffolk County pilot program, students in the Middle Country Central School District have been learning about the importance of recycling and have been quite successful at the task.

On Oct. 3, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) came to Hawkins Path Elementary School in Selden to announce that students who participated in the Suffolk School Recycling Program, which was launched last year, recycled 35 tons of paper during the 2018-19 school year. Hawkins Path students, as well as New Lane Elementary School in Selden and Unity Drive PreK/Kindergarten Center in Centereach, were among the more than 6,000 children that participated in the partnership with the county.

During the pilot program, Hawkins Path, Unity Drive and New Lane recycled 2,330, 4,554 and 8,043 pounds of paper, respectively. Hawkins Path and New Lane also recycled a combined total of approximately half a ton of bottles and cans, according to county officials.

Roberta Gerold, Middle Country Central School District superintendent, congratulated the schools.

“Our students’ enthusiasm for this project clearly articulates the value of recycling and of sustaining resources,” she said. “The Suffolk School Recycling Program has inspired all of us in Middle Country. We are so proud of our students and staff’s work.”

In 2018, as part of Suffolk’s pilot program, 1,000 recycling bins were delivered to 12 schools allowing each building to have two bins for each classroom, office cafeteria and athletic field. Schools were also provided with scales to measure recycled materials.

According to county officials, recycling 35 tons of paper translates into the students saving 595 trees, 150,000 kilowatt hours of energy, 331 barrels of oil, 1,988 BTUs of energy, 245,000 gallons of water, 145 cubic yards of landfill space and stops 2,100 pounds of air pollution from being released.

“We launched a new kind of program to prove that students can help improve our recycling efforts and actually measure how much of an impact that they are having on our environment,” Bellone said. “The results are undeniable, the program is working, and we will continue to look for new opportunities to expand the initiative to protect and preserve our Island.”

The press conference was Bellone’s second visit to Hawkins Path Elementary School in 2019. Earlier this year he met with the school’s fifth-grade students who showed examples of their recycling work.

In addition to Middle Country schools, the county worked with Harley Avenue Primary School, James Boyd Intermediate School, Elwood Middle School, John Glenn High School, Twin
Pines Elementary School, Hemlock Park Elementary, Hampton Bays Elementary, Remsenburg-Speonk Elementary School and Quogue Elementary. The county anticipates working with other school districts in the near future to develop the program on a larger scale.