Once a week students on American High's Recycling Team hustle to the storage container near the science wing of the campus. There, they sign in, check out a toter and head out to classrooms across the campus of 2000 students.
Each classroom is equipped with a garbage can paired with a paper recycling bin and a container for bottles and cans. Working in small teams, each group handles separate responsibilities.
The "Paper Team" empties classroom boxes of paper and cardboard into rolling toters and pulls any stray bottles and cans out for cash redemption. When the rolling toters are full, the paper team takes the paper and cardboard directly to the recycling dumpster.
The "Bottle Team" pulls bags of bottles and cans from classroom containers and places them in the rolling toters. Students put fresh liner bags in the containers and return them to the classroom. The frequent replacement of clear liner bags helps to cut down on ants and other pests that are attracted to the liquids associated with bottle and can recycling. Students take full toters of bottles and cans to the sort area to reclaim CRV (California Redemption Value) bottles and cans for cash.
In the sort area near the shipping container, the "Sort Team" processes all recycled materials. They process the bottles and cans to separate aluminum, milky white HDPE plastic bottles such as milk and juice containers, and clear PET plastic bottles that typically contain water, energy drinks and sodas. The sort team bags and stores aluminum and PET plastic to redeem for cash while placing other plastics in the school's recycling dumpster for processing by the school's waste hauler. The sort team also separates paper and cardboard into separate dumpster bins for recycling by the hauler.
The entire process takes less than 20 minutes during a silent reading period structured somewhat like a "homeroom," and generates income for on-campus environmental restoration projects, campus beautification, and science programs.
This video below provides a quick overview of the program: