Project 612 Brings New Recycling Plan to EHS

Emily Kloostra, Staff Writer

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Although plastic recycling at EHS is gone, food recycling is stepping up to take its place. Project 612 proclaims “let nothing go to waste” and donates uneaten food from the EHS lunchroom to area food pantries.

Started in 2011 by a mother concerned about food waste, Project 612 has grown from collecting only prepackaged food on sack lunch days to collecting every day. With the addition of EHS, which started collecting on Aug. 19, the project is now in every District 7 school.

“Each step began with just one or two pilot schools to make sure we had the correct process and equipment before rolling out to more schools,” co-director Gwyn Marini said.

Project 612 leaders, principal Dennis Cramsey and sponsor of the Medical Occupations Club Jennifer Weller discussed procedures for the high school over the summer. New coolers, bins and a large refrigerator were purchased to accommodate the larger student body.

Mrs. Weller volunteered with the project in the past. According to Marini, Mrs. Weller helped in connecting the high school and Project 612.

“Mrs. Weller is passionate about health and it shows in her caring beyond the classroom,” Marini said.

With Mrs. Weller, Medical Occupations Club students handle collections and donations. After D lunch, members collect food from the bins and coolers and store it in the fridge until pick up, according to sophomore Jasmyn Story.

The project is initially donating to three groups: The Glen Ed Food Pantry, SIUE Food Pantry and the Hope Center, according to an email sent to EHS staff.

“We will likely be looking for other donation sites as well because we anticipate the amount of food collected will be large,” Mrs. Weller said in the email.

Senior Natalie Loveridge leads the high school efforts and said that her job is simple.

“I organize who puts the bins out and which group collects the food once D lunch ends,” she said.

Although the work is simple, Story said it makes good use of her time.

“Since I have D lunch, I’m usually finished eating by the time we’re supposed to collect the food,” Story said. “I usually just wait around, and it doesn’t take a lot to do, so why not?”

Story said she wants the project to help students recognize their own privileges.

“I just hope people appreciate what they have and realize that giving doesn’t take much work at all.”

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