Recycling at MorningSide

Colton picture

Hi my name is Colton, I’m 10 years old and I go to MorningSide Elementary. I got interested in recycling at home. We have been recycling as long as I can remember. When I was in first grade Ms. DeFranza talked to us about starting a recycling program. I’ve been doing it ever since. I also try to think of new ways to reuse things. At MorningSide we recycle paper, plastic and ink cartridges. I would like to talk to our principal about starting to recycle cans next.

My parents are really proud that I got involved in recycling at school. We all can help save the planet! I think when I grow up I’d like to be in animal research or engineering and design.

I have even gotten some of my friends involved in recycling at school! My little brother has started working with me and we recycle things at home.  What do you recycle at your school?

Colton is a 4th grade student at Morningside Elementary.  He enjoys reading, hanging out with his friends, and watching a good hockey game!

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99 Days to Prom

Did you know that between 16 and 33% of teens in the U.S. are considered obese? Part of the reason is not enough physical activity. How do I know?  I’m one of them.

My mom and I moved from the city to a subdivision in the suburbs a few years ago so she could be closer to work and we could live in a nicer neighborhood, an environment created for families. Growing up, I realized it wasn’t kid friendly like my grandmother’s house in the city –where I could walk or had access to the “green limousine” (what everyone else calls public transportation) to get around in the city.   In the suburbs, my mom has to drive me to get to school, practice or the mall. This is called sprawl because everything is so spread out that there isn’t much choice but to use an automobile to get around.

The combination of un-pedestrian friendly towns or neighborhoods and less physical activity contributed to the rise in obesity, diabetes and asthma.  We’re living “large” but it’s taking a toll! Some of us are struggling to fit into prom dresses this spring!  Let’s face it; we build our communities in ways that discourage daily physical activity like walking and bicycling. I didn’t think I had much of a choice and neither did many of my friends. 

But we do.

Town governments and planners call it smart growth.  Growth is “smart” when new development gives us great communities, with more choices, personal freedom and diversity. When communities choose smart growth, they can create new neighborhoods and maintain existing ones that are convenient and healthy. Public transportation is more readily available to use, but walking is also convenient. When a community is designed to be easier to get around, people can more easily incorporate and encourage social and physical activity. It also reduces air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions because people can choose to walk, bike, or take public transportation instead of drive.  Most of all, we can create more choices for kids, families, and older adults. These choices include where to live, how to interact with the people around them and how to get around!  

If it was easier to walk to school or travel to the mall instead of having my mom drive me, we’d save on gas and I wouldn’t have to think about fitting into my prom dress.  Smart growth is good for our health and our carbon footprint. 

Gabriella is a senior at Wheaton Warrenville High School in Illinois.  She’ll be attending SIU next fall to major in environmental forensics science.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.