Sixth Graders Research Recycling Issues, Recommend New Policy for Wentzville

Wentzville Middle School Mrs. Hick's Class

A new recycling policy is making its way through the government approval process, thanks to the hard work of a group of sixth graders from Wentzville Middle School.

The year-long project undertaken by Mrs. Hick’s sixth-grade class involved researching options to increase recycling and decrease littering. Through surveys and other information-gathering processes, the students found that multi-family dwellings often had overflowing dumpsters contributing to the litter problem, and that the rate of recycling was lower than for other residential areas. The students came to the conclusion that requiring recycling bins at apartment complexes could address both issues.

The new policy states:

Those owners of multi-family dwellings of 15 or more units in the City of Wentzville, Missouri, shall provide recycling dumpsters for removal of recyclable items generated by their tenants. For every trash dumpster there must be one recycling dumpster. All recycling dumpsters must be housed in a screened fence or block enclosure similar to trash dumpsters. Recycling dumpsters can be housed in the same enclosure as trash dumpsters. Newly constructed multi-family dwellings will be affected by this policy.

At this time only single-family residences receive recycling service as part of the city’s solid waste contract, while multi-family buildings and businesses manage their own recycling. The new policy will apply only to new multi-family construction.

The students’ proposed policy went before the Wentzville’s Planning and Zoning Commission on July 6. The commission gave their support to the policy, which now moves on to the Board of Aldermen for a first reading on July 12.

The project was facilitated by the GREEN partnership, a cooperative effort of the Wentzville School District, GM, the City of Wentzville, and Earth Force, (a nonprofit organization with the mission to help young people get “hands-on, real-world opportunities to practice civic skills, acquire a deep understanding of the environment, and develop the skills and motivation to become lifelong leaders in addressing community issues”). The GREEN partnership is now in its 14th year of encouraging students to use their science, communications, and social studies skills to effect positive changes in the community.

The new recycling policy is just one of several community projects that students have taken on this year. Others include a contest to decorate trash cans for the city’s parks, the restoration of a rain garden at Wentzville Middle School, and habitats for fish, monarch butterflies, and bees at Heartland Park.