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Regina Huda School Grade 5A students Hady Haggui, Zubia Almas, Laiba Khan, and their teacher, Ms. Michelle Sandomirsky.

A few weeks ago, I was invited to participate as a judge in The Great Carton Search, a Carton Council of Canada-sponsored SARCAN initiative to encourage schools in Saskatchewan to share stories about the success of their school’s beverage container recycling program, with a focus on cartons.

According to SARCAN, schools across Saskatchewan do an amazing job recycling beverage containers, helping return 85 per cent of the containers sold in the province! However, only 50 per cent of the cartons sold make it in to a SARCAN depot for recycling.

The great Carton Search encouraged schools in the provinces to go in search of these missing cartons – and win prizes for their school in the process.

As a judge, I was most impressed by the dedication of the participating schools. The winning class from Regina Huda School visited the classrooms in their school every day, and faithfully cleaned and collected their beverage containers. Once a week, their teacher, Michelle Sandomirsky, brought the containers to the local SARCAN depot. Together, they tracked the amount and type of recycling as well as the money they raised throughout the year, now totaling more than $1,700 for their school!

The contest and the responses from participating schools reinforced that through education, a little bit of creativity and a great deal of commitment, we can certainly help increase the rate of carton recycling in our communities.

The students themselves pointed out in their submission what a tremendous impact the project and contest had in their school, in their families and in their broader communities. While 26 students were directly involved, more than 585 students and more than 50 teachers supported the recycling program.

From the winning submission: “Some students are saying that their families are recycling more at home. Many of our class families have come from other countries. Some of these countries do not even separate garbage, so when they came to Canada they had no idea what recycling even meant. This year we have made a difference to the families and community of Regina Huda School, we have started a program that can last forever!!! From now on, more and more people will share their knowledge about the importance of recycling and continue the search for cartons.”

CCC offers its congratulations to SARCAN, the teachers and grade 5A students of Regina Huda School and SARC for their exceptional work to grow the recycling of cartons and all beverage containers and their investments in a more sustainable future.